The Calgary Flames are making the right choice in hiring Craig Conroy as their GM
Photo credit:@NHLFlames on Twitter
6 months ago
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Sunday that the Calgary Flames are set to announce Craig Conroy as the eighth full time General Manager in team history. Conroy has been in the Flames organization as a player and manager for almost 20 years. He is the right person for the job.
He is a steadying presence
There has been a lot of change in the Flames organization over the last calendar year. They lost the four most important people in the organization in Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Darryl Sutter and Brad Treliving. This team needs stability. Conroy brings that to the general managers chair. He has been working in the front office since he retired as a player in 2011. He knows this ownership group, the organization, the city and this fan base inside and out.
There will be no grace period for Conroy. He doesn’t need to get to know the team or the staff around him. He has all that institutional knowledge that someone on the outside wouldn’t have. That is a huge advantage for the Flames who are at a crossroads as an organization. They have a lot of incredibly important decisions to be made over the next few months like hiring a head coach and figuring out the long term plans of some of their top players. They need someone to make those decisions quickly. And the best way to do that is to hire someone who already knows the organization.
He also has a relationship with the players. Conroy is respected and well liked around the Flames organization, including in the dressing room. That could go a long way in rebuilding the trust between some of the higher end players and the organization.
He was the best finalist
Conroy was the best choice out of the finalists that were made public by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman. It was rumored that the Flames had flown out Stan Bowman, Marc Bergevin, Mark Hunter, and Dave Nonis to interview with the club in person. The Flames also interviewed Brad Pascall as well.
Out of all those options, Conroy was the best choice. Flames president of hockey operations, Don Maloney, mentioned that he was looking for a younger, progressive, and inventive GM to take over for Treliving. Based off that description, Conroy and Pascall were the two best candidates with Conroy winning out in the end.
It’s a PR win
The Flames needed to give their fan base some good news. There has been a lot of negativity surrounding this team since Gaudreau and Tkachuk decided to leave last summer. Then there was the drama around Darryl Sutter. Top players underperformed. And ultimately the team missed the playoffs. The Flames needed to deliver some good news to the fan base. And this is good news.
Conroy is a beloved figure in the Calgary community both as a player and now an executive. He has an incredibly positive outlook on life and the game which is infectious when you listen to him in interviews. He is an easy person for the fan base to cheer for in his new role.
Another PR win could be the potential addition of Jarome Iginla to the front office within the next year or so. Flames fans would love to see the greatest player in franchise history back with the team.
There has been a lot of speculation that if Conroy were to become the next GM, that Iginla would get involved with the team in some capacity. That could happen in advisory role this season, or it could be as a special assistant to the GM like Conroy did with Jay Feaster for a few years or like Jason Spezza did with Kyle Dubas in Toronto.
He has a lot of experience
Conroy isn’t coming into the GM’s chair green by any stretch. He has a long history in the game as both a player and manager. He played in over 1,000 games in the NHL in four different organizations. He has had experience playing for a lot of different coaches and managers which is important. He knows what players want in a good organization. He knows what the players want when it comes to building out a coaching staff. Conroy has been there and done that over his 16 years in the league as a player.
And now he has 12 years of experience in the front office with the Flames touching every part of the hockey operations department including amateur and pro scouting, NCAA free agency, and contract negotiations. He is ready and now is the right time to promote him.
Overall, Conroy is a perfect fit for the Flames right now. He has paid his dues and earned this opportunity to guide the Flames organization over the next few years. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this all plays out.
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