The Calgary Flames dodged a bullet with rumoured Craig Conroy general manager hiring
Photo credit:@NHLFlames on Twitter
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames are in the midst of a transformative off-season, with the departures of former head coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Brad Treliving. At a very important junction, the club has made a fairly big decision, reportedly selecting Craig Conroy as the club’s next general manager. (He’s expected to be formally announced on Tuesday.)
Don Maloney, in his press conference post-Brad Treliving departure, described the ideal candidate as someone who was young with an innovative and progressive hockey mind, glimpses at the interviewee list for the job were highly anticipated. Before the report about Conroy’s impending hiring was tweeted by Darren Dreger, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli tweeted out the potential candidates for the Flames, which had drawn a fair amount of comments already.
Then, The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun tweeted out the list of names that got second-round interviews for the Pittsburgh Penguins general manager slot, which got even more attention from Flames fans, particularly because the candidates surrounding the Flames didn’t seem to fit Maloney’s description as much as the list of candidates for the Penguins.
The good news is that the Flames chose Conroy, who is probably the most qualified for Maloney’s description of the general manager they’re looking for. However, there’s something to be said about the current interim general manager (and a member of the “search committee”) describing the person they want and then not having many candidates outside of one make it as far as the final stages of interviews. They dodged a bullet with some of the candidates.
The person within that list that stands out the most is Stan Bowman. He’s 49, which is actually younger than Conroy at 51, but there are legitimate issues both with the product he put on the ice towards the end of his tenure with the Blackhawks and off the ice. The Penguins list is the epitome of “young, inventive, and progressive,” and if one were to shove his name in the middle of it, it would certainly stand out. He made some questionable moves, most notably at the end of his tenure, making the massive trade to acquire Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets and then signing him to an insane long-term deal, making him one of the highest-paid defencemen in the NHL.
However, aside from contributing to a dynasty team falling from eternal glory to the depths of the standings, there’s the obvious “he was the general manager of a team that swept a sexual assault case under the rug” story too. The fact that he’s even being considered for any job is astounding, and it would be a PR nightmare for a team that just had plenty of reported locker-room disagreements and turmoil to bring a person into management that was notably negligent when something happened to one of his players.
Of course, that disaster isn’t the main topic of this article, but it’s a subject worth touching on before moving away from Bowman as a candidate for the position.
No matter which way you slice this search, it’s hard to argue that any of the reported Flames candidates fit the description that Maloney mentioned in his press conference, and fans are within their right to be confused when it appears that another team with a prior general manager vacancy has a completely different pool of potential candidates.
Conroy feels like the right choice in this situation, and it’s a good thing that he was the frontrunner. He has deserved this shot for a while now. However, a certain level of frustration and even confusion due to the seeming lack of carrying through with Maloney’s words to the public is understandable. The reported external candidates and their track records didn’t feel like the right choices for the Flames, especially with what Maloney said in his press conference.
The next step for Conroy is to make decisions on how the team is coached and ho the team is built moving forward.
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