I’ve decided to make this series five parts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.