Could another original San Jose Sharks player become Sharks GM?
Of course, Doug Wilson, defenseman on the expansion Sharks, stepped down last month after a successful 19-year run as Sharks GM. Now?
“In a couple of interviews, team president Jonathan Becher mentioned ‘league experience,’” Elliotte Friedman wrote in today’s 32 Thoughts. “Ray Whitney, who joined the department of player safety in 2017, was drafted by San Jose in 1991. A connection that made me think a little.”
Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports expanded on Friedman’s speculation:
Per source, Ray Whitney will interview for the Sharks GM post on Thursday. https://t.co/bPDxNQTZyr
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) May 18, 2022
Whitney had three assists in two games with the 1991-92 Sharks, a harbinger for a 22-season NHL career that saw him put up 1,064 points. The winger retired after the 2013-14 campaign, suiting up for no less than eight teams, the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, and Dallas Stars. Whitney was a scout with the Hurricanes from 2015-18 before joining the league.
It would appear to be a longshot hire, but Becher himself told San Jose Hockey Now recently that the preliminary GM list was 20-25 long. In that case, a couple longshot interviews, if not more, make sense.
“You want a GM job, go work for the league.”
That’s the perception that a prospective GM candidate shared with the San Hockey Now Podcast a couple weeks ago. The thought behind that is the NHL has an underrated influence on high-level front office hires.
Or, as Whitney himself put it last year, it’s a “feather in the cap.”
“When George [Parros] called me and asked me [to work for the NHL], I talked to my old agent Mike Barnett. We were scouting in San Jose at the time, a little rookie tournament. I told him I just talked to George, and Mike recommended I do it,” Whitney told the Hockey News. “He said, ‘It’s in the league, you’re working for the league itself, it’s a real feather in your cap, and you get to see the inside of the game from the other side, which is important if you’re going to move on to another area of the game.'”
It’s hard not to think about that when an out-of-nowhere GM candidate like Whitney is offered up as a potential candidate by one of the preeminent league insiders.
If not with the San Jose Sharks now, it appears that Whitney’s time is coming.
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