This new layer of management in the NHL is proving to be beneficial for a lot of teams, the latest being the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils surprised nearly everyone by elevating GM Lou Lamoriello to President and bringing in former Penguins boss Ray Shero as the new GM.
This new model of adding a layer to the management team should help most every team that employs it. There are good hockey people out there and what this does is add a layer to that depth of knowledge. It will also help teams either get back on the right path or hopefully keep them from veering off course.
Calgary, Vancouver and now Edmonton have put this hive mind mentality in place, and you can see in both Calgary and Vancouver that the dividends have been paid immediately, with Edmonton just in the process of launching. It is clear that Trevor Linden is overseeing the entire Canucks organization, and with a solid hockey man like Jim Benning calling the GM shots, the Canucks are in good hands. Trevor’s role is to maintain the wants and needs of the ownership, while also shaping his vision for what the team’s identity should be. It allows Benning to be the straight up hockey guy without being the politician.
It is for those reasons alone that Brian Burke is a great President in Calgary. There is no question that Burke can do the GM’s job, as he has done it now with four different teams over twenty plus years. But with Brad Treliving doing the heavy lifting as GM, Burke can remain focused on the team’s identity, plus take care of all the corporate glad handing that comes with the job. For example in Calgary’s case, getting a new building off the ground.
Toronto and others are now putting this hierarchy into place, and if it can help teams get stability and become not just more successful on the ice, but more profitable off it, you can expect 30 teams to have this in place soon.
This is a copycat league, and no one wants to be left holding the bag.