While NHL hockey is still being played, the Calgary Flames got to work with their offseason as they found their new GM. After an extensive search, Craig Conroy was promoted to the new role and is immediately ushering in a new era of Flames hockey. Conroy has been open about his hockey philosophy and is looking like he’ll be building a different culture for the organisation. Is he the right person for the job? We asked, you answered.
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What to make of Conroy’s promotion
The Flames were unable to extend Brad Treliving as GM as his contract is set to expire at the end of June. Instead of it being a dragged out process, the team were able to respond accordingly and begin their search of a new GM in the middle of the playoffs. Ultimately, it took until the May long weekend before the club decided on its new direction.
With Conroy being with the team for years and years, him finally receiving the proverbial keys to the car has been a long time coming. What wasn’t clear about Conroy is just how different of a GM he would be in contrast to Treliving—do they share similar strategies, how much influence did Conroy have over Treliving, etc. However, a lot of those questions seemingly answered themselves during Conroy’s introductory press conference as he made it clear his idea of how a team should be ran was very different from how Treliving did it.
From player usage, prospect development, asset control, and more; Conroy had no shortage of thoughts on how the team was managed before and what he’d do differently. As such, it looks like it’s not just a new era coming for the Flames but an entirely new direction. With that said, this week’s poll simply focuses on the team’s decision to go with Conroy when other GM candidates were vastly available.
The Flames made the right choice for GM
The poll was strongly in favour of Conroy. Between the options of being “as excited as ever” or “hopeful,” that accounted for nearly 95% of the votes. To say that Conroy was the right choice doesn’t just come due to the team going with the fan service route. Yes, Conroy is a fan-favourite, but making him GM wasn’t just a decision to appease the masses. Conroy has a long track record of management and between building his resume with the Flames and seeing more action at the international level, Conroy is as qualified as any candidate could be as a first-time GM.
And as mentioned earlier, his press conference—and subsequent media availabilities since then—has made it decidedly clear that he had just a bad a time this past season watching the Flames as many of the fans did. Conroy revealed more about both his feelings and strategy, as well as how the team was ran than many would have dreamed of hearing. Conroy identified the same frustrations that fans had with the on-ice product, coaching decisions, and more.
It seems like every single chance Conroy gets the spotlight whether it be from the press conference to any other media availability, he has used them to make it extremely clear that he’s much more aligned with what the players want and what the fans want.
As such, his early approval from the fans is deserved, and there’s a good mix of pure excitement as well as fans who are hopeful. There’s been a lot of talk from Conroy so far which has done plenty of good for the Flames atmosphere, but there’s still action that needs to be seen before final judgment is due.
Conroy wants the best for Calgary
Very rarely would a poll swing so strongly in one direction, but that’s exactly what happened this time around with Conroy. For now, he seems to be the resounding right choice and it’s up to him and his team to turn the Flames around and get back as contenders. While the last season may have shaken up the players’ mojo and confidence, having Conroy at the helm may be the antidote the players need. Up next is finding a coach who’s committed to Conroy’s vision.
What do you think of Conroy as Flames GM? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @wincolumnCGY.