The Vegas Golden Knights had a valuable asset, and they knew it. When the team promoted Kelly McCrimmon to general manager yesterday, teams around the league had to change course on their own front office searches. The Edmonton Oilers were interested in McCrimmon, but according to Ryan Rishaug of TSN are now looking at either Keith Gretzky or Mark Hunter for the job. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic adds that the Seattle expansion franchise is “willing to be patient” now that McCrimmon is off the market. The Seattle group “would have gone hard” this summer to hire McCrimmon, but could now wait until next year.
It was always a possibility that the new team wouldn’t have a GM until 2020. The Vegas Golden Knights hired George McPhee to lead their expansion preparation in July 2016, less than a year before they had to make their selections in the expansion draft. The Seattle team won’t be doing that until 2021, meaning there is still plenty of time to get the management group in order.
Still, McCrimmon seemed like a perfect candidate given his success with Vegas in the first draft. The Seattle team will try to emulate the Golden Knights’ success, but may not have quite so many opportunities to pull good young players away now that team’s have experience preparing for a draft of this nature. LeBrun notes that Ken Holland may still be of “serious interest” to the Seattle group, but the Red Wings executive is taking his time to decide what is next.
Of note is the recent report that Dave Tippett has interviewed for the Buffalo Sabres coaching position. The veteran coach was serving in an advisory role for the Seattle organization and some had speculated that he would join their front office in some capacity. It appears as though the coaching bug has bitten Tippett again however, leaving it unclear whether or not he will be part of the organization for much longer.