Panthers GM Search Part 2


I’ve decided to make this series five parts.

Craig Billington

Craig Billington, Avalanche assistant GM, still hard at work during NHL  "pause"
Image credit to The Denver Post

Current Position: Assistant General Manager

Current Team: Colorado Avalanche

Resume: A former NHL Goaltender, Craig Billington has served in the Colorado Avalanche organization for several years. Billington became the Assistant GM of the Avalanche in 2009. Billington serves as the AHL GM of the Colorado Eagles.

Consensus: Billington is a bit of a wildcard pick, often flying under the radar. He could make a decent GM, but I feel there might be better options out there. The Avalanche have made a drastic turnaround recently, thanks to good drafting.

Grade: C

Bill Zito

2018 MWC | Bill Zito, General Manager
Image Credit to USA Hockey

Current Position: Associate General Manager

Current Team: Columbus Blue Jackets

Resume: A former attorney and sports agent, Bill Zito joined the Blue Jackets organization in 2013. He became the GM of the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate the Lake Erie Monsters. In his first year with the Monsters, he led the Monsters to a Calder Cup. Zito became the GM of the 2018 USA MWC roster. With his experience in negotiating for players, Zito and GM Jarmo Kekalianen are very good at cap management. Zito has been lauded as a favorite for a new General Manager job.

Consensus: Zito is a phenomenal pick for the Panthers GM. He brings the grit and competitiveness from the Blue Jackets, a team that was phenomenal in 2019-20, despite losing their three best players. He might help Sergei Bobrovsky too, as he and Bob were both in Columbus together.

Grade: A

Mike Gillis

Ex-Canucks GM Mike Gillis joins Swiss team's board of directors
Image credit to Yahoo Canada Sports

Current Position: Free Agent

Last Positon: GM of the Vancouver Canucks

Resume: The former GM of the Vancouver Canucks, Gillis led the Canucks to a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.

Consensus: Gillis would not be a good pick. Gillis himself said in an interview with Sportsnet last year, that he wouldn’t be a good GM if he came back to the league. Gillis would be a solid advisor or president of hockey operations, but I don’t think he is the right fit for the Panthers, as the Canucks imploded under him.

Grade: D

Al MacInnis

Al MacInnis excited to hear stories from Top 15 honourees at One Night Only  event | Hockey | Sports | Cape Breton Post
Cape Breton Post

Current Position: Senior Advisor to the General Manager

Current Team: St Louis Blues

Resume: An NHL Hall of Famer, MacInnis was one of the best defensemen to play the game. His legendary slapshot would split helmets open, as he ushered in a new age of the defenseman with the powerful slapshot quarterbacking the powerplay. MacInnis has been in the Blues organization since his retirement, and helped the Blues win a Cup in 2019. MacInnis was coached by Joel Quenneville back in St Louis as well.

Consensus: It’s unknown how good Coach Q and MacInnis’s relationship are, and MacInnis is relatively unproven in the area of hockey operations. The question is Can MacInnis build a roster fit for the modern game? MacInnis would be a high risk, high reward pick and it’s up to you whether or not you wanna gamble on that.

Grade: B-

Sergei Zubov

File:Sergei Zubov 2014.JPG - Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia

Current Position: Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations

Current Team: Dallas Stars

Resume: Another hall of famer, Zubov is relatively new to NHL management, after coaching in the KHL with HC Sochi for a few years.

Consensus: Like Luongo, I think Zubov needs some seasoning before becoming an NHL GM. I don’t think he would be a good pick for the Panthers.

Grade: D

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