Weeks have now passed since the Flames announced that they and Brad Treliving had mutually agreed to part ways. Since then, there has been no shortage of drama, including the firing of Darryl Sutter. Interim GM Don Maloney noted that the new GM will be hired first, and then they will make a decision on the coach. So, to recap all of the news surrounding the Flames GM spot, there are quite a few news tidbits surrounding this team recently to get caught up on.
On the recent episode of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman described that the Flames “have interviewed people that have been GMs before, and some people that haven’t been GMs before.” The most promising tidbit about the Flames next GM came from the press conference after parting ways with Treliving, where Maloney described the Flames needing a “young, progressive, and inventive person to take over as general manager.”
One of the latest tidbits came from the draft lottery, where interim GM Don Maloney confirmed the team wants a GM in place before amateur scouting meetings in a few weeks. That’s a quick turnaround for a decision as big as this, especially since a few of the ideal candidate’s teams are still playing in the playoffs. Hello, Eric Tulsky and Rich Peverley. Those two names haven’t been connected to the Flames (yet?), but many around the NHL consider them to be promising candidates that several organizations are looking into.
One of the names circulating is Mark Hunter, who is the current owner, vice president, and general manager of the OHL London Knights. Hunter has four years of experience in an NHL front office as Director of Player Personnel with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In that role, Hunter was in charge of the NHL Draft. Those drafts don’t look particularly good now, besides the obvious picks at the top end. I think it’s interesting that Friedman mentioned Hunter in connection to the Flames twice, first on April 28, then again on May 8. The 60-year-old spent parts of three seasons playing with the Flames—including winning the Stanley Cup with the team—so there’s a connection there.
Given Hunter’s track record with the Leafs and his age, I don’t really see this as a fit.
This would be an organizational failure. Bowman is currently blacklisted from the NHL due to his role in the coverup of the sexual assault case of former Chicago Blackhawk Kyle Beach. The assault happened in Bowman’s first year as GM, and he was made aware of the misconduct from video coach Brad Aldrich. Instead of firing Aldrich, Bowman just reported the matter to superiors. The NHL would have to approve of an interview before one could even happen.
Along with his role in the aforementioned suit, Bowman also has just not been a good general manager. The most recent evidence is the trading for and extending of Seth Jones to an eight-year, $9.5M AAV deal. The deal for Jones looks very bad today, as the Blackhawks gave up Adam Boqvist, and draft picks that became Cole Sillinger and David Jiricek. The Blue Jackets also got a second-rounder which they flipped to the Hurricanes for Jake Bean.
Bowman also traded away Nick Leddy in his prime for four AHLers. The best one has to be essentially trading away Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad.
Avoid even interviewing Stan Bowman at all costs.
The cap wunderkind. This would be a move that aligns perfectly with Maloney’s plea for a young and progressive mind to take the mantle of Flames General Manager. Brandon Pridham joined the Leafs front office after years working with the NHL in various roles like central scouting and the central registry. It was through his work in central registry that he became known for his knowledge of the cap.
With the Leafs, we’ve seen this in play over the last number of years, with moves on LTIR and others that are mere thousands of dollars from the salary cap. Will the Leafs allow the Flames permission to speak with Pridham? Or do they keep him around as a potential replacement with the uncertainty surrounding the Leafs front office after Kyle Dubas’ departure. Sounds like that will be the plan, after listening to Brendan Shanahan’s press conference today.
The former Canucks and Leafs General Manager has a long and complicated history. He was the Canucks’ GM from 2004–05 to 2007–08, where he did trade for Roberto Luongo. But beyond that, Nonis didn’t do much besides clean around the fringes, and the Canucks missed the playoffs in two of his three seasons as GM before he was fired.
Nonis served as Leafs GM from 2012–13 to 2014–15, where his contracts signed are a massive misplay. He signed David Clarkson in free agency, reaching a seven-year, $5.25M AAV deal. We all know how that contract ended up playing out. Other contracts handed out by Nonis included five-year, $5.25M, $4.2M, and $4.05M AAV deals for Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, and Jake Gardiner, respectively. He also extended Dion Phaneuf to a seven-year, $7.0M AAV deal, and Phil Kessel to an eight-year, $8.0M AAV deal. Nonis has worked recently with the Anaheim Ducks as an assistant GM from 2019–20 up until 2021–22. He was outed after Pat Verbeek arrived in Anaheim. His history isn’t looked upon very highly.
The long-time Montreal Canadiens GM is also being heavily considered for the role. Marc Bergevin was Canadiens GM from 2012–13 through 2021–22. Now, he’s working as a Senior Advisor with the Los Angeles Kings. From the Karl Alzner contract to drafting Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall to trading for Nick Suzuki to trading Sergachev for Drouin, Bergevin’s history with the Canadiens is cloudy. There is also the crazy Subban for Weber blockbuster.
There were no shortage of moves from Bergevin, and a lot of bad contracts still on the books from his tenure. Combine that with the drama between Bergevin and his then captain Max Pacioretty, or P.K. Subban, there was a plethora of drama.
Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall remain in the hunt
Every insider continues to mention both Conroy and Pascall, both of whom are current assistant GMs with the Flames. Conroy started out as a special assistant to the GM. Conroy was promoted to assistant general manager in 2014. Pascall was hired as assistant general manager in 2014, after spending years working with Team Canada. Both gentlemen know the organization inside and out after spending nearly ten years in a top management position with the club. Pascall has focused primarily on the AHL team, which of course is having tons of success this year.
If I were a betting man, which I am, I would still place it on Conroy. Just makes a ton of sense. He’s got the support from Jarome Iginla, and that’s all we really need, right?
Other names mentioned in the Flames GM search: Ray Whitney, Sean Burke.
NHL insiders have noted that we could hear a Flames GM announcement as early as this coming week. Don Maloney noted he ideally would have a GM in place before amateur scouting meetings, so this timing makes sense.
Calgary Flames GM Candidate Profiles
Check out more of our general manager candidate profiles here to get the full run-down on who Calgary’s looking at and why they are good or bad fits with the team:
Craig Conroy | Eric Tulsky | Kyle Dubas | Brad Pascall | Mike Futa | Brandon Pridham | Sean Burke | Marc Bergevin | Mark Hunter