The Calgary Flames have two very large holes in their organization right now, one is their next head coach and the other is their next general manager. The organization has said that it will be the GM who picks the coach, but have not yet announced a timeline for getting that position filled. There are a lot of names swirling around the rumour mill for who could fill this role, some internal candidates and some external candidates are for sure on the list. An external candidate that the Flames have been linked to Sean Burke.
Why Sean Burke should not be the GM of the Flames
First and foremost, Sean Burke was charged with assaulting his wife in 1997, and his wife told law enforcement it was not the first time it had happened. The situation was dealt with extremely poorly by his team at the time, the Carolina Hurricanes. Burke pled guilty and was fined, required to attend a domestic violence educational program, and complete 18 months of probation.
This is not a person who should be the face of an NHL franchise. We’ll outline all the reasons why the Flames might be interested in him, but at the end of the day his criminal history should automatically disqualify him from the job.
Why the Flames might be looking at Burke
One of the few NHL GM candidates available with an extensive NHL resume, Burke played 820 NHL games over 18 years, including multiple postseason visits. He sits 15th all-time in games played by a goalie, and also sits fifth all-time in penalties minutes by a netminder.
He retired after the 2006–07 season, splitting time between the Los Angeles Kings and Springfield Falcons of the AHL, and finished with a career 0.902 save percentage. Following retirement, he was immediately hired on as the director of prospect development for the Arizona Coyotes. He was later promoted to be the team’s goaltending coach and assistant general manager, working alongside Brad Treliving, Don Maloney, Jim Playfair, and numerous other current and former Flames.
Following the 2015–16 season, Burke would transition into scouting at the NHL level, joining the Montreal Canadiens as a pro scout until 2020–21, when he was promoted to be the team’s goaltending coach and later director of goaltending. In the interim, he was the GM for Team Canada at numerous tournaments including the Spengler Cup and Karjala Cup.
This past season, Burke served as the director of goaltending for the Vegas Golden Knights, but has been interviewed a few times recently for various open GM positions across the league.
The Flames’ biggest struggle over the past two decades has been goaltending and the organization has seen dozens of goaltenders in that time who have failed to make an impact on the backend for the team. This has been arguably the biggest weakness that this organization has had since their last major Stanley Cup run in 2004. With Dustin Wolf waiting in the wings, building an organization around a GM who understands goalies and goaltending success would be an enormous boost for this team’s potential.
On top of that, Burke has the right hockey resume and the right pedigree to be a GM. He has held the role for Team Canada and has been an AGM in the Arizona system, one that has been a pipeline for the Flames for decades. There is a lot of connection between the Flames and Coyotes, too.
He has also been around the league in many high ranking positions. He has experience in scouting, coaching, player development, and management, as well as having served heavily in the goaltending departments of three teams in the league.
Calgary Flames GM Candidate Profiles
Check out our previous general manager candidate profiles here to get the full run-down on who Calgary should have considered and why they would be good or bad fits with the team: