Pat LaFontaine’s search for the Sabres’ next General Manager has likely hit high gear now that he’s had time to get settled, take a look at his team an begin contacting candidates.
The moment news broke that LaFontaine wouldn’t just be coming in as Buffalo’s new President of Hockey Operations, but that he’d be conducting the search for a new GM, speculation began to run rampant over who hey may interview, and which candidate would serve the Sabres best.
The name many fans turned to first was Rick Dudley. He’s the guy that Bucky Gleason has floated a number of times in hopes of seeing him installed in the GM chair for the Sabres. Considering Bucky had also previously suggested the thought of LaFontaine in his new role, certainly some connected the dots to his train of thought.
That isn’t to say that Sabres management is consistently scouring The Buffalo News, WGR Whiner Line or other outlets for hockey theories for hiring and trade ideas – at least I hope they aren’t – but it shows that Gleason does indeed understand the direction that the NHL hiring practices can follow.
Dudley wouldn’t be a bad hire by any stretch. He has a solid resume that saw him begin to shape some of the stronger parts of the current Winnipeg Jets core (his time was spent in Atlanta). He also spent a season with Toronto before catching on as Montreal’s Assistant GM in a role providing guidance to the Canadiens’ new General Manager, Marc Bergevin. Considering Bergevin’s relative inexperience, Dudley could be considered a guiding force in many ways.
Dudley also happens to have strong connections to the Sabres organization. Given the wave of nostalgia that has swept through the team offices, there wouldn’t be much surprise if yet another individual with ties to the team was brought in. Dudley has hopped around a bit in recent seasons which may be motivated by a desire to hold a significant role with an organization.
He doesn’t slot in as my preferred candidate, however. Sure, he has a nice resume and certainly has shown a penchant for strong talent evaluation. For this hire I wouldn’t mind seeing the Sabres go with more of an up-and-coming hire. While the associated risks are obvious, and it should be noted that Dudley isn’t in any way a re-tread or tired candidate, it seems that allowing a rising star in the executive ranks to take over would serve the team well.
One other thing to consider would be someone who has spent a significant portion of his time with a team that has not only had success, but built themselves to that level of success. Here’s a handful of other rumored candidates and some information on where they may fall into place during this search: Continue reading