Rumor: Flames Hiring New President of Hockey Operations

Kent Wilson
June 15 2013 10:46AM

 

 

Bruce Dowbiggen isn't very popular in many Flames fan circles, but he's not a guy who makes a habit of trading unfounded rumors, so there could be something to this.

The popular assertion right now is that the target is Brendan Shanahan. I don't know what tools the current head of NHL discipline would bring to such a role, but I am certainly in favor of any move that gets Ken King a few steps away from the actual hockey portion of the business. There's no question KK is a gregarious figurehead who can glad-hand the public with the best of them (while squeezing every ounce of revenue from his partnerships and biz ops behind the scenes), but he's not really a true hockey guy given his background as a newspaper man.

My operating assumption when Jay Feaster was hired was the team would eventually make this move by bumping King up the ladder, moving Feaster into the Presidential role and then finding an up-and-coming GM to take the reins. Looks like the org might be keeping Jay in place and installing a more conventional "hockey guy" above him instead though.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Kurt
June 15 2013, 08:08PM
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Friedman just said Feaster offered all our first picks for 1 and Colorado said no thanks. He then suggested all of the top 4 aren't moving their pick.

Boo

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#52 Ed Ward
June 15 2013, 08:44PM
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If Colorado is going to take Jones, which it looks like they will, I'd do that same deal with Florida.

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#53 JCDavies
June 15 2013, 10:46PM
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@Kurt

Will probably take a roster player + ... picks only won't be enough.

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#54 FireOnIce
June 15 2013, 11:16PM
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@Kurt

I wonder how long they laughed before realizing he was serious.

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#55 Kurt
June 15 2013, 11:52PM
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Ed Ward wrote:

If Colorado is going to take Jones, which it looks like they will, I'd do that same deal with Florida.

Sorry my comment was terrible english... commenting on my phone while watching the game doesn't help my already questionable grammar skills....

What I meant to say was that Friedman explained Colorado rejected Feasters offer of all 3 1st round picks for their 1st overall and he also suggested that he has heard none of the top 4 picks are in play. He suggested the only team considering moving their pick is Carolina at #5 and that the Oilers are said to be making a strong pitch....

I'm not surprised our 3 first rounders aren't enough, I've been saying all along we basically don't have the assets to move into the top 3 at all. But I am happy to hear Featser is trying....

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#56 Kenta
June 16 2013, 05:14AM
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If the reports regarding Shanahan are accurate the timing could not be worse. Feaster was already under considerable pressure to make this draft count. If he is now fighting for his job as well he will likely overreach and make mistakes (which he is prone to do in the best of circumstances). If ownership had this in mind they should have pulled the trigger on this at least a month ago.

Another case of very poor management by Flames ownership.

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#58 Ed Ward
June 16 2013, 10:00AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

John Shannan is reporting Shanahan was indeed in Calgary talking to King and Edwards:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/report-flames-targeting-shanahan-for-front-office/

I'm all for moving Ken King out of hockey-ops but its kinda hard to be excited about Shanahan. Do we have any evidence that he would actually be good at the job, other than the fact that "he played the game"? He has no track record as an executive, nor does playing experience seem to have any correlation between success as a coach, GM or executive.

In fact I'm pretty sure that Rob Vollman has demonstrated that playing experience negatively correlates with success as a coach. Not that experience causes them to coach bad but that bad coaches with playing experience are giving more opportunities. Not sure if this same relationship applies to GM/executives but Id be willing to bet that it does. It's not like anyone with a sane hockey mind thinks the Sakic/Roy combo is going to work out on Colorado.

I'd be a lot more excited about this move if they were looking at someone who actually had a track record of success as an executive. It's not like the Flames don't have the money to pay someone with a track record of success.

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#59 WildFyre
June 16 2013, 10:46AM
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I have one word to say:

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOB!!!

(and I'm surprised no one said it before)

Of course, the likelihood of Hakan Loob becoming GM or team president is about on par with, oh, say, Scotty Bowman taking the Flames' reins.

However, his track record with Färjestad suggests that he might indeed be at least a candidate for "the best hockey GM not in the NHL" so we can be consistent with our goal crease.

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#60 WildFyre
June 16 2013, 10:56AM
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WildFyre wrote:

I have one word to say:

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOB!!!

(and I'm surprised no one said it before)

Of course, the likelihood of Hakan Loob becoming GM or team president is about on par with, oh, say, Scotty Bowman taking the Flames' reins.

However, his track record with Färjestad suggests that he might indeed be at least a candidate for "the best hockey GM not in the NHL" so we can be consistent with our goal crease.

I meant to say (last sentence) that "so our executive suite can be consistent with our goal crease"

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#61 Colin
June 16 2013, 11:32AM
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So it seems after yesterdays second intermission and the sportsnet reporting there has been meetings/interviews with Shanahan. I wonder if the hold up in any actual hireing is going to be that Edwards decided on this idea of getting King out of Hockey OPs and King doesn't like it. I'm going to image that the idea of hiring Shanahan was probably one floated by Bettman or someone else in the NHL front office. I'm guessing that during the labour negotations there was a lot more than just labour negotations going on and Edwards maybe thought it was a good idea to make changes at home and was suggested at looking at Shanahan.

Imagine if you were King, you had what a lot of people would imagine is their dream job, you are running a NHL team. I mean he basically signed the GlennX contract (I think it was King that took him out horse back riding or something). So I asume King thinks he knows what he's doing. So when Edwards comes to him and says, "Please hire your replacement". You kinda wonder how long it's gonna take him, or if he can somehow convince Edwards that he's still the "most qualified".

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#62 clyde
June 16 2013, 11:39AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Hiring "big names" tends to be the action of well heeled yet insecure organizations - particularly in sports. Big egos seem to attract towering personalities as if by gravitational pull, often regardless of their actual ability to do the job. Glen Sather in New York has been a constant example of this since he landed in the big apple - consistently signing or trading for available/recognizable "stars" and name brand guys, blind to financial ramifications and often in direct opposition to good sense.

Of course, such moves convince the big hats in question that they and their organization is of alpha importance.

Helps to market the team in the short term as well. Afterall, the entertainment of hockey and major pro sports has extended beyond the on-ice/on-field stuff to the 24-hour, 12-month news cycle. Fans don't merely cheer goals and wins anymore - they cheer major acquisitions and splashy moves as well. GM's have moved from executives to entertainers in this fashion I think.

Shanny will become the face of the franchise for the upper management will show off. You are right, this is not a hockey move.

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#63 Derzie
June 16 2013, 12:24PM
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Perfection aside, Shanahan > King. Take the wins one at a time.

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#65 Kevin R
June 16 2013, 01:14PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I'm being somewhat cynical because it's quite possible Shanahan does bring some value as a president. I don't precisely know the description of the president's role, nor can I peruse his resume in depth to determine whether there's an actual fit there.

Still, it's something that isn't entirely uncommon in the NHL, so I'm comfortable saying it's possible/probable that this more an optics move than actual attempt to diversify/improve management to any meaningful degree.

I do think Shanny has more hockey IQ than Feaster & would definitely by a very good influence or better person when it came to hockey trades. Many things Feaster has been fine on but his biggest shortcoming is that he hasn't scored any homeruns on the trading side of it. Right now, drafting is huge for us so I am comfortable Feaster & Wiesbrod are in New Jersey. Its the UFA's & trading that will probably happen that scares the pppppp out of me Feasty. Maybe if he can make some real good shrewd trades at this draft, will go a long way to instill some confidence on FN. I don't think our 3 1st's for the #1 is a good start. Maybe Gaudreau, 22 & 28 & Gio would make me feel he took a good swing at it. But for a team rebuilding, that #6 goes nowhere.

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#66 Ed Ward
June 16 2013, 02:32PM
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@Kevin R

"I do think Shanny has more hockey IQ than Feaster"

I'm just not sure how you can make that call. There just isn't any evidence that's the case. Shanny's hockey IQ as a player is certainly well beyond that of Feaster's, but I'm just not sure that matters at all. I've seen no evidence that success as a player means squat in terms of being an executive or that having "played the game" at a high level makes you better than someone who hasn't.

You can debate Feaster's track record visa vis other GMs but I just don't think we can say anything about about the relative merits of Feaster versus Shanny because the later hasn't don't anything as an executive. Beyond the fact different perspectives generally help decision making I have no idea if Shanny would be better at making trades than Feaster or Ray Borque or some random guy off the street.

He could turn out to be fabulous at the job, but I don't think anything we know about Shanahan at this point in time has any predictive value on the likelihood that he will succeed.

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#67 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 16 2013, 02:48PM
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@Kevin R

Why on earth would Colorado even consider Gaudreau, 22, 28, and Giordano?

Gaudreau is an intriguing prospect, but lets not get carried away here. He's slightly bigger than the girl in the tilted kilt banner. There is a better than fair chance that both the 22 and 28 picks won't turn out to even decent 3rd line NHLers, and Giordano is a second pairing D-man (at best) on a good team.

If the Flames are serious about trading for the no.1 or 2 pick, the conversation starts with 6, Bartschi/Brodie, and a quality vet (ie: Glencross or some equivilant) if I was Talon or Sherman/Roy

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#68 Kevin R
June 16 2013, 03:03PM
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Ed Ward wrote:

"I do think Shanny has more hockey IQ than Feaster"

I'm just not sure how you can make that call. There just isn't any evidence that's the case. Shanny's hockey IQ as a player is certainly well beyond that of Feaster's, but I'm just not sure that matters at all. I've seen no evidence that success as a player means squat in terms of being an executive or that having "played the game" at a high level makes you better than someone who hasn't.

You can debate Feaster's track record visa vis other GMs but I just don't think we can say anything about about the relative merits of Feaster versus Shanny because the later hasn't don't anything as an executive. Beyond the fact different perspectives generally help decision making I have no idea if Shanny would be better at making trades than Feaster or Ray Borque or some random guy off the street.

He could turn out to be fabulous at the job, but I don't think anything we know about Shanahan at this point in time has any predictive value on the likelihood that he will succeed.

Points taken, but I do think other GM's approach to trading with the Flames would be much different if those discussions were with Feaster or with Shanahan. To me the relationship between the 2 parties discussing the trade have a huge baring in the content of what is being offered & tactic in the negotiation. I don't feel this is Feasters strong suit, nor does he have the respect or credibility a Shanahan or Yzerman or Bourque or even Nieuy might get. That is why you see players in executive positions. Just my take on the psychology of trading.

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#69 Kevin R
June 16 2013, 03:14PM
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Danglesnipecelly wrote:

I don't know why this is turning into a Feaster vs Shanahan comparison... Wouldn't Shananhan be replacing KK and isn't this a great thing!? King being out is good news on its own... Bringing in a legit hockey guy with experience working for the NHL can only be an upgrade.

Also love that Feaster is wheeling and dealing. I liked what he had to say in his press conference for the most part. I'm also kinda glad the Avs said no, personally I would rather have three picks but that's just me... I like that we're looking at every possible angle though.

I can't wait for the finals to be over so that the fun can begin. After the first 48 hrs the next 10 days are going to be insane! Buyouts, draft, free agency!

BTW @Kevin R

I'm usually right in line with most of your posts but Gaudreau + 22 + 28 + Gio for the 1st overall is way too much IMO.

Well that was my thought as well as being an overpayment for that #1 but it will have to be an overpayment & I thought Gio & Gaudreau + those later picks would be a price the Flames could maybe afford, as long as they kept that #6. But Joey Joe still doesn't think that's enough & he could well be right. Thing is, Feaster just doesn't have the limit on his credit card to shop at the top 4 store. That Carolina 5th is doable, it may take Gio or Wideman ++, but if we can keep the 6th & the 22nd doing it, I would declare this draft a win for the Flames. Right now 3 picks already puts us up 2-0. A few years ago we were like ranked 29th or 30th by hockey futures, today we are ranked 20th. I credit Feaster's approach & focus on the draft & farm team for that. After we add 3 more young excellent players this year, give us 2 years & we'll be approaching the top 10 in Hockey futures.

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#70 suba steve
June 16 2013, 03:19PM
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The sooner we all realize that this rebuild is gonna take more than one day (June 30/13), the more we can appreciate the unprecedented drafting opportunity we get to witness in 2 weeks time. Two picks in the top six this year is not happening without making TJ and/or Sven available, but three picks in the top 28 is not too shabby.

Trading #22 & #28 to move up a number of picks may be a possibility but, moving both picks for the #12 pick (just pulled that # from thin air) only makes sense if you have reason to believe the player you are going to take at 12 would be gone by #22. You also need to believe that that #12 player is > likely #22 player + #28 player. From what we were told last year, the player they were going to pick at 14 is the same player they called at #21, so that move made sense. But moving 22 and 28 for 12 just because it is an earlier pick, without considering the players available, makes no sense. Some players always slip lower then expected on draft day.

Sounds like Feaster is laying track for some of these possible scenarios, and that's all we can ask of him at this point.

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#71 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 16 2013, 03:46PM
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@Kevin R

It would seem the Flames have their sights set on Mackinnon if they can secure one of the top two picks.

Recently I've read/heard analysts suggest that Mackinnon could turn out to be a Stamkos/Taveres type player. Not one of the top 2-3 players in the league, but perhaps a step down. Either way he projects to be a legitimate fanchise player.

So, what is the cost of an 18 year old franchise C, and why would Col/FLA want to trade one? I'm with a lot of people who think Colorado will pick Jones. With Duschene, Stastny and O'Riely they could be fine at C if they chose to go with these guys moving forward. Meaning they don't have the need at C that the flames do. FLA on the other hand would probably like to have Makinnon and Huberdeau combo. So what cards do the Flames have to entice them to move off of that? The only way I see this happening is if the Flames gave the Panthers: A) No. 6 so they could still have a good shot at Monahan/Lindhom B)A top young player who can play now. (Barteschi or Brodie) and C) quality vet who can play in your top 9 and help get the Panthers back into the playoffs next year. (Glencross/Giordano).

If I'm Talon, that's what I'm asking for. Top pick, Top Prospect, + Quality NHLer (ie: not post apex as Feaster would say). That might, at long last, get the Flames a Mackinnon type player to build around. It will not come cheap.

If the Flames get a top 2 pick it won't be through smoke and mirrors (picks 22 and 28) an intriguing prospect and a decent top9/second pairing D man. Think of it this way, would you have traded an 18 year old Steve Stamkos for a similar package? No way in hell. Keep in mind if either 22 or 28 turn out to be 1st line forwards (let alone 2nd line) the Flames will have to hit a home run. For every Claude Giroux there are probably 10 Nick Petrecki's.

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#72 suba steve
June 16 2013, 03:48PM
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Question

Why would Feaster make an offer to COL for their first unless:

a. He wants Jones?

b. He has reason to believe that COL is going to take MacKinnon?

Otherwise, wouldn't Florida's pick be cheaper to purchase? Or perhaps Panther's pick is just not for sale?

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#73 Kevin R
June 16 2013, 03:54PM
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joey joe joe jr shabadoo wrote:

It would seem the Flames have their sights set on Mackinnon if they can secure one of the top two picks.

Recently I've read/heard analysts suggest that Mackinnon could turn out to be a Stamkos/Taveres type player. Not one of the top 2-3 players in the league, but perhaps a step down. Either way he projects to be a legitimate fanchise player.

So, what is the cost of an 18 year old franchise C, and why would Col/FLA want to trade one? I'm with a lot of people who think Colorado will pick Jones. With Duschene, Stastny and O'Riely they could be fine at C if they chose to go with these guys moving forward. Meaning they don't have the need at C that the flames do. FLA on the other hand would probably like to have Makinnon and Huberdeau combo. So what cards do the Flames have to entice them to move off of that? The only way I see this happening is if the Flames gave the Panthers: A) No. 6 so they could still have a good shot at Monahan/Lindhom B)A top young player who can play now. (Barteschi or Brodie) and C) quality vet who can play in your top 9 and help get the Panthers back into the playoffs next year. (Glencross/Giordano).

If I'm Talon, that's what I'm asking for. Top pick, Top Prospect, + Quality NHLer (ie: not post apex as Feaster would say). That might, at long last, get the Flames a Mackinnon type player to build around. It will not come cheap.

If the Flames get a top 2 pick it won't be through smoke and mirrors (picks 22 and 28) an intriguing prospect and a decent top9/second pairing D man. Think of it this way, would you have traded an 18 year old Steve Stamkos for a similar package? No way in hell. Keep in mind if either 22 or 28 turn out to be 1st line forwards (let alone 2nd line) the Flames will have to hit a home run. For every Claude Giroux there are probably 10 Nick Petrecki's.

I don't question your rationale. I just don't think Flames can afford the price. Where #5 they maybe can & I would rather have 5 & 6 than give everything for 1 in this draft.

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#74 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 16 2013, 04:15PM
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@Kevin R

I agree. I don't think the Flames could/should make the deal I suggest. I'm just speculating on what other GM's might want. If I'm Talon, having Mackinnon Huberdeau is as pretty much as good as a foundation as you'll find in the league. Pretty tough to pass that up.

I think the Flames are better off staying at 6 and selecting Monahan or Lindholm and using 22 and 28 to address some of the numerous other needs this team has. I would be shopping Cammalerri and Tanguay for picks as well. You might not get first round picks for them, but you might get a prospect and a second, or two seconds.

The Flames can not miss at six. they have got to make that pick count. They don't need to find 'the guy' at that pick, but they had better find pretty damn good player. As for 22 and 28, if they can find one effective NHLer there I think you would have to be good with that. Anything more would exceed any reasonable expectations IMO.

As Feaster said on Friday, there is no quick fix here. The Flames may miss out on Mackinnon this year, but I won't be surprised if we see this team in a lottery spot next year.

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#75 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 16 2013, 05:09PM
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@suba steve

Basically because Feaster wants MacKinnon. There is no guarantee COL takes Jones. Recent draft history has indicated that taking a D-man first overall hasn't panned out all that well. The only D-men selected in the top 5 recently I would think has been a resounding success is Doughty and Peitriangelo. Think about the others. Hedman, Johnson, Gudbranson, Bogosian......None are making the impact some of their forward peers are. That said, all are still very young.

I don't think No.1 or 2 are necessarily cheaper. both picks should yield franchise players. Jones may even slip to 3 or 4 depending on what decisions are made.

a top two-three pick in todays NHL is one of the most valued chips you can have. Aside from an elite player in their prime, I don't think there is anything more valuble. And at this years draft it seems as though there are at least 2-3 of those.

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#76 Baalzamon
June 16 2013, 07:37PM
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@suba steve

If Horvat was, in fact, the guy, the Flames would definitely trade down. They showed that last season with Jankowski.

However, I really don't think that's the way they're leaning, based on the things that the lot of them have said leading up to the draft. They were willing to go all in for #1, but that doesn't mean they don't like the guys who are projected around 6th.

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#77 FireOnIce
June 16 2013, 08:29PM
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I'm surprised that Feaster had the balls to ask for a trade with Colorado for their #1 pick after the offer sheet debacle. I doubt the Avs' management is too pleased with that whole incident and I doubt they have forgotten.

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#78 Danglesnipecelly
June 16 2013, 08:53PM
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So I've heard Feaster say... "Best player available"

I've heard him say "we want a guy that can challenge for a roster sport next year"

And I've heard him say that the NHL has contacted the KHL and Nichuskin is free to sign with and play for an NHL team next year.

I've also heard rumblings of Carolina wanting Nurse or possibly trading the pick etc...

Anyone else get the feeling that we might here the big Russians name called at #6?

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#79 Pierce Cunneen
June 16 2013, 09:45PM
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If it takes Shannahan out of his current role, I am all for it.

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#80 Franko J
June 16 2013, 10:53PM
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Kurt wrote:

Friedman just said Feaster offered all our first picks for 1 and Colorado said no thanks. He then suggested all of the top 4 aren't moving their pick.

Boo

I think it is pretty sure that the top 4 teams are going to keep their draft pick. No matter what the Flames are offering none of the teams ahead of them are interested.

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#81 mact.08
June 17 2013, 01:58AM
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I think Shanahan would be a welcome addition, not just a big name. The executive of the flames lack a true hockey guy outside conroy. He appears to have some credibility with the NHL, which I think feaster lacks.

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#82 gotommygo
June 17 2013, 09:14AM
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@Danglesnipecelly

"we want a guy that can challenge for a roster spot next year"

I noticed Feaster said this as well. Lindholme plans to play in Sweden one more year so I guess we can count him out.

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#83 Ed Wailin'
June 17 2013, 09:18AM
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I smell desperation...

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#84 shutout
June 17 2013, 10:09AM
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National Hockey League's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and Director of Player Safety.

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Shanahan was the mastermind of what was dubbed "The Shanahan Summit," a two-day conference in Toronto. It gathered players, coaches, and other influential voices to discuss improvements to the flow and tempo of the game.

In December 2009, Shanahan accepted a position to become the NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development. "In a broad sense, I think obviously, I am going to be another voice in the hockey ops, but at the same time people like John Collins and Gary and Bill are going to allow me and teach me the business of hockey," Shanahan told NHL.com. "What I was excited about in their offer to bring me on board is that it was wide open for me. There was not going to be any room with a closed door and I would be given an opportunity to see and learn. As time goes by there will be some days where my role is more hockey specific and some days where my role is more business or marketing specific."

My belief is that you are not given the opportunities to develop and manage action groups, nor given high positions if people do not believe that you have a pretty high hockey IQ. Regardless of what he did on the ice, the roles and responsibilities that Shanahan has been given with the league for the last three years speaks to the fact that he is highly respected, has a good understanding of the game, and knows how to manage and lead people.

I think that having Shanahan in as the president of hockey operations is a great thing. At the same level as Sakic in Colorado and Nealy in Boston. Let the GM deal with the day to day phone calls and in the trench transactions and work with the GM and develop the short and long term strategy for the organization and the guiding voice of what is to be done.

Read a number of articles and twitter remarks that emphasised the fact that Shanahan has been told the whole hockey operations staff is his to decide their fate. A couple of comments made mention that Shanahan might use the next 30 days to evaluate Feaster and Weisbrod in terms of what they do at the draft and in the start of free agency.

I have to believe that in the last three years Shanahan has spent time talking and learning from hockey people in every organization and central scouting. And that he would find it pretty easy to put together what he thinks the team should do from the outside looking in and depending upon how closely Feaster and his staff perform to expectations will depend on whether or not Shanahan is bringing in Fenton or Hextall to run the team in the middle of July or if he keeps Feaster, or promotes Wisebrod.

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#85 piscera.infada
June 17 2013, 10:39AM
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@shutout

I agree. Many of the comments referring to Shanny's lack of front office experience are over-broad, IMO. As you note, his last three years in the NHL's front office is great experience for President of Hockey ops. It placed him in a phenomenal position to build relationships with the front offices of all 30 teams in the league. As such his leadership of Feaster, and the Flames would be invaluable.

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#86 everton fc
June 17 2013, 05:12PM
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Not sure about Shanny one way or another. I do like the idea of Shanny being put in place to "test" and evaluate both Feaster and Weisbrod, but if you bump Feaster into the President's seat...

But I, too, see this as more "cosmetic".

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#87 everton fc
June 17 2013, 05:18PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

Exactly. Even though I don't think he'll get us into the top five, I think Feaster's going to do some big things. Sounds like he's been working hard, and I think by the draft it'll pay off. Players for more picks, or picks for apex players, something's brewing.

God help the Flames!

(Partially kidding. Somewhat serious.)

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