The newly-minted GM of the Blue Jackets sets his sights on his club's future in BEARD Hockey in this fine interview with Aaron Portzline.
Firstly, how have you been settling into life as a BEARD Hockey GM?
It's been relatively seamless transition due in part to …
- The work and commitment from our two Commissioners is top notch – the level of commitment and interaction they demonstrate has been great at helping me to get to grips with the CBA and the daily operating activities required as a GM.
- Interactions with the other GMs across the league – they’ve made me very welcome from the start. Willing to offer advice on the league or just have a casual chat.
What were your thoughts on the team’s Dispersal Draft and the current structure of the franchise?
I am really happy with the talent pool that’s here right now. We feel that the franchise can mount a serious challenge at Pro and Minor levels.
Of course, I am concerned about the number of pending free agents and expect that those will keep me busy over the next few months.
You’ve already made a number of trades – talk us through those …
We liked David and his ability to play both centre and wing but were concerned about his ability to pass through waivers if we couldn’t find room for him on the pro roster. The extra picks in 2021 gives the team a bit more flexibility to make other moves further down the line.
This was a tough deal to make. But the risk of losing Ryan to free agency was too much and the leadership team thought it was the best interests of the franchise to acquire additional assets. GM Corey Chernuka was very keen on adding Nugent-Hopkins and put together a solid offer.
The addition of Grimaldi pushed Grabner down the depth chart so made the subsequent move to cash in and obtain a few more assets.
This was a deal we couldn’t turn down. Tolvanen is an exciting prospect but we really like Bordeleau’s skillset and the fact he is still only 18, so lots of room to grow.
Following the acquisition of Bordeleau and a number of our prospects graduating to the AHL, we felt we had the strength at centre to offset the loss that Geekie. Our aim was to get younger and add future assets.
That’s quite the start already. Do you plan on making any other key acquisitions before the season starts?
We will always look and consider all options to make the franchise stronger, but we have no immediate plans on the trade front.
What about the Sorokin rumours?
As I said - we will always look and consider all options to make the franchise stronger.
Okay, well...tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get into hockey?
Ha yes! It’s not every day you come across an Irish hockey GM!
It all started with NHL 2003 (great soundtrack btw!) and grew from there. I became a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers due to their affinity with orange (my favourite colour) and have never looked back.
I was about 95% of the Flyers game though a season and have travelled across to the States a few times and watch them play.
Any other interest outside of hockey?
Well I have two kids, 2 years and 6 months old, so that keeps me busy. But everything and anything sports related.
I’ve played cricket throughout my life for my local town (picture below of me holding a trophy we won a couple years ago). But that is coming to an end, so looking to play a bit more golf now.