by PuckStopsHere on 06/04/09 at 04:22 PM ET
The NHL Entry Draft is coming up in less than a month. It begins on June 26th. In order to succeed in the draft, teams with vacancies at general manager need to fill them now. The Colorado Avalanche had fired GM Francois Giguere following a horrid season where they finished last in the West Conference.
Colorado’s first attempt at hiring a new GM was to offer the position to Patrick Roy. Roy is an ex-star player. His qualification for GM comes from his involvement with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. Roy is a co-owner who has taken on the GM and coach jobs in 2005. He has no NHL front office experience and there exist several CHL officials with far more experience than Roy. Roy would likely have been a poor potential GM. He turned the Avalanche down. Colorado was left without any serious GM candidates and was rushed to fill the position with the draft coming up.
UPDATE: Colorado has hired Joe Sacco as their coach. This hiring comes one day after Sherman’s hiring as GM. This is too fast for it to be a Sherman move which suggests Pierre Lacroix is GM in all but name.
In the short term, ex-GM Pierre Lacroix was leading the search. Although he would make a good GM, he was not interested in the job. Colorado looked within the organization and chose Greg Sherman to be their GM. Sherman may have been the team’s assistant general manager, but he wasn’t on anyone’s short list to be an NHL GM. He is seen as a salary cap guy who has been involved in negotiating contracts. He isn’t seen as somebody who has skills in important areas of running a hockey club, such as player evaluation.
Had Colorado done anything wonderful in terms of their salary cap management that made you think the guy who did that is a wizard and should be an NHL GM? The Avs spent within $2 million of the salary cap last year while finishing last in the West Conference. They have large contracts that run for years into the future invested in declining assets in Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. Frankly, there is nothing Greg Sherman has done to distinguish himself as a potential GM. In April, Adrian Dater wrote in his blog that if Giguere was fired and Colorado looked within the organization for replacement that Sherman had a 10% chance of getting the position. This made him a significantly lesser candidate than Michel Goulet, who was among the six firings the Avs announced yesterday.
Greg Sherman’s hiring strikes me as a panic move made because the draft is coming up and the Avs wanted somebody running the show. He seems more like an interim GM, until a more suitable candidate can be found, than a permanent solution. I think it is quite likely that he is relieved of his GM duties in a year or so when the Avs find their more permanent GM.
NOTE: Joe Sacco has been hired as the Colorado coach. Sacco has coached the Colorado AHL affiliate since 2007 in Lake Erie. He has two years experience as an AHL assistant coach before this. The move is too fast to be a Greg Sherman move. Likely Pierre Lacroix hired him.
If Lacroix is the de facto Colorado GM, that is not a bad thing. He won two Stanley Cups as Colorado GM. He left the position in 2006 for health reasons. While a big part of the Avs Stanley Cup winning core was in place before his hiring (Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote), he did a good job. It makes the Sherman hiring a bit more suspicious. What power does he actually have? Is he the GM in name only?
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