We’re only a week and half away from the big announcement. I won’t get into to potential names, but the GM should fit the owner, the coach should fit the owner, and the team should fit the owner. The Creator would be best to hire a coach and GM with the style of hockey he likes best. I’m not saying Foley will be Jerry Jones, but he’ll certainly have an influence on the franchise’s firsts.
The GM will try and match the style of hockey The Creator wants, but also compete in the Western Conference. Specifically, the Pacific Division. It’ll be a tough balance. According to Francois Gagnon, the Knights (or whatever they call em) will be playing in the Pacific division. The LA Kings have led the charge in the Pacific for the past five years. Looking ahead, it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. Sure the Sharks are in the Finals, and the Ducks seem to win the division every year but LA still rules West Coast. Jonathan Quick is locked up until 2023, Drew Doughty through 2019, Anze Kopitar just signed an eight year deal, and Jeff Carter‘s contract is up in 2022. LA’s core is intact. (Shoutout to Mass’s Cathedral High School alum Dean Lombardi for crafting a Cup winning team) The Kings groomed a Norris trophy defenseman, a Conn Smyth wining goalie, and a Selke finalist. They may be a little deflated after this year’s postseason but LA won’t be down for long.
Using LA as an example of a team Las Vegas will have to beat, Vegas’ GM will have sleepless nights playing match ups. The Kings are one of the best teams in the NHL in puck possession. As Don Cherry famously says, the best defense is a good forecheck. It’s true, watch the Penguins. They’re banged up on the blue line, so Pittsburgh juiced up their offensive attack. Sometimes doubling their opponents number of shots taken. Trevor Daley might be missing, but by possessing the puck the Penguins have kept the stress off the young Matt Murray.
Puck possession is just one matchup the new GM will have to address. Las Vegas must build a lineup to compete with the big and talented Kings. Not too mention the Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes. In 2017 all four teams should be competitive and fighting for the division. Potentially creating a nightmare for first year Vegas.
Hey, we all knew there would be growing pains but The Creator doesn’t want 25 years of them like San Jose. Possibly the Sharks overlooked their division and built a roster to win the West not the Pacific. As competitive as the San Jose has been over the past quarter century, they never reached the goal. This year was the first time they matched up well with the Kings, and beat them at their own game. It’s been a wildly successful year for the Sharks, but it’s not over yet. Winning would erase all the bad memories of the early years. The 11 win, Cow Palace days. Days Las Vegas will hopefully never see.