Who are the candidates to replace Ray Shero? Let's look at some of the most bandied about names.
Ray Shero's right-hand man, but is reportedly viewed by ownership as not too close philosophically to Shero, who they obviously wanted to replace. Botterill may have an inside track to the job, he's worked with the Penguins since 2007, has seen their rise and knows better than any candidate the players on hand, the previous mis-steps that have left them where they are right now, and what steps they might need to get to where they want to go. For more on Botterill, check out our profile on him here.
The agent, more specifically Sidney Crosby ‘s agent has taken himself out of the running for the Pittsburgh Penguins GM job. Brisson has been mentioned before recently for the Montreal Canadiens job, so it seems like he could have a future in a front office if he wanted it. But for now, as one of the top agents in the game, he seems content to work from that side.
Reportedly Pens owner Ron Burkle was interested in Brisson, but Brisson has publicly backed out of consideration. Good thinking, Sidney Crosby's agent just can't make the transition to Pens GM. He could be the most brilliant hockey mind, but the optics of the situation just set him (and Crosby) up to fail and be the subject of rumors and ridicule.
Despite being just 37 years old, BriseBois has a wealth of experience in NHL front offices and a law degree. From 2001-2010 he worked with the Montreal Canadiens in various capacities, eventually turning the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs into a powerhouse team. Then in 2010, Steve Yzerman made BriseBois one of his first hires when he took over the Tampa Bay Lightning. BriseBois has overseen their farm teams and has made them (including Norfolk a few years ago) into a terrific team.
BriseBois is seen as a "rising star" in the management world, and his combination of youth, experience in hockey and law makes him seem like a great candidate. However, he has no experience being a head figure, which might be one of the few strikes against him.
Currently the assistant in Nashville, which has turned out several management figures under the David Poile tree (like Shero was). Fenton has been given a lot of credit for the drafts in Nashville, which unsurprisingly have featured a lot of great defensemen drafted, but very few skill forwards. Which sounds exactly like what's gone on in Pittsburgh lately. Fenton seemingly interviews for every open GM job, and is well-regarded, but for this team he doesn't seem like the best of fits. Pittsburgh already had a version of Fenton in Shero, and the idea was to go in a different direction.
The current assistant GM of the New York Rangers may be a candidate for an interview in Pittsburgh. He has ties to Boston and was on the good side of the Andrew Raycroft for Tuukka Rask deal. He would be a candidate with a lot of experience in New York or Boston, but again isn't a guy who's ever been more than an interim GM. He would have to interview really well and have a great vision for the team in order to be a solid contender for this job at this time, you would think.
A former NHL defenseman with 500 games played, MacIver was an assistant coach from 2000-06 before being hired by the Chicago Blackhawks as a player development director. He was promoted to assistant GM in Chicago in 2011. Not sure how much you have to develop players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but conceivably MacIver has been involved in bringing along other young players in Chicago too, and that organization has been the league's most successful in the past 10 years. To me, he doesn't stand out as much as some other candidates, but it would certainly be a good thing for ownership to interview him, get his perspective and gather more information.
Another former NHL player, who has been in charge or the Toronto Marlies for the past few seasons. Most of the names on the list are younger in age and the "riser" or "up and comers". Poulin is on the flip side of the coin, with a ton of experience under his belt, though none as an NHL general manager. Poulin doesn't seem like the most inspiring choice, but who knows, he might be a choice.
Obviously we don't have the benefit of being in the interview room and actually hearing what these gentlemen think and how they would implement a plan....But based off what we know, which GM candidate are you most looking forward to, or hoping gets serious consideration for the gig?