The re-shaping of the San Jose Sharks under new GM Mike Grier continued today, with the team announcing five hires to their hockey operations department. The hires are as follows:
- Scott Fitzgerald as Director of Player Personnel
- Tom Holy as Assistant General Manager
- Todd Marchant as Director of Player Development, Senior Advisor
- Chris Morehouse as Director of Amateur Scouting (connection to San Jose first reported by The Athletic’s Corey Masisiak)
- Ryan Stewart as part of the Pro Personnel department, and as Senior Advisor
Grier previously announced other changes to his hockey operations department, including the hiring of former New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight to a senior position, as well as a turnover of the team’s coaching staff, with a new bench boss in David Quinn.
Fitzerald, the new head of player personnel, is tasked with focusing on “pro and amateur scouting, including potential top-two round selections at the NHL Draft and college free agents,” per the team announcement. Fitzgerald previously served in various roles as a scout for the Boston Bruins, most recently as their Director of Collegiate Scouting. The Bruins have been active in the college free agent market under Fitzgerald’s close watch, perhaps indicating that targeting NCAA free agents will be a strategy under Grier.
Holy, now an assistant GM, was previously a widely-respected media and public relations manager for the Dallas Stars, Sharks, and Cleveland Barons. Per the team, Holy “will oversee the analytics department, staff budgeting and contracts” as well as overseeing various business-related responsibilities.
Marchant becomes the team’s new head of player development, an increasingly important role in a league full of teams fixated on improving their draft-and-develop process. The team states that Marchant will “oversee the player development department,” as he has in the Anaheim Ducks organization since 2011-12. Under Marchant’s watch, the Ducks have been among the NHL’s best teams in terms of delivering young talent to the NHL, especially with defensemen. The Sharks are eager to introduce more young talent to their lineup and that will be Marchant’s primary responsibility going forward, a responsibility he’s well-versed in handling.
Morehouse, the team’s new head of amateur scouting, functioned in the role of Director of Scouting for the New York Rangers. Before his stint in New York, Morehouse was the head of amateur scouting for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Like any scouting director, Morehouse’s draft resume has its fair share of hits and whiffs. What sets Morehouse apart, though, is his six years of experience running a scouting department despite now being just 35 years old.
Finally, Stewart joins the organization as a senior advisor and part of their pro personnel department. Stewart joins the Sharks after being relieved of his duties as assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks in March. Stewart was with the Blackhawks for over a decade, rising from the position of video coach to assistant GM. Stewart brings a wealth of experience to his new role and three Stanley Cup rings.
In total, these hires represent a total makeover of the Sharks’ hockey operations department. After the long and fruitful tenure of former GM Doug Wilson, who won just about everything outside of a Stanley Cup, the Sharks have been a bit lost, missing the playoffs for multiple years. It’s a thought that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Grier has targeted experienced people to staff these roles, all with extensive resumes.
The biggest responsibility for turning the Sharks around falls on their players, of course, but with these hires Grier is attempting to build a hockey operations department that can best support and complement the efforts of the Sharks’ players.