The New Jersey Devils were one of the busiest NHL teams in the lead-up to the trade deadline, and interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald was given plenty of recognition for a job well done.
Despite his strong performance in the role, Fitzgerald is still not a lock to remain in the role as New Jersey has started the process of interviewing for the position, beginning with former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis.
“Tom Fitzgerald was widely praised for the job he did and one of the things I wondered was would the Devils just elevate him to the permanent GM status because his work was praised? I’m told the answer to that question is no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment Saturday. “They will continue with the search as they initially indicated. Fitzgerald is obviously a very serious candidate but they’re going to open it up elsewhere.
“One of the first people they have spoken to is the former general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Mike Gillis. They can interview Gillis because he’s not tethered to any team at this particular point in time. The search is going to continue after the season with any candidates who currently are with teams, but Gillis is, as far as I know, the first external candidate to be interviewed.”
The news comes as a bit of surprise considering Gillis had previously hinted at staying away from future GM duties.
“I don’t think my role any longer is to be the GM of an NHL team,” Gillis told Sportsnet’s Luke Fox in July. “That one person, over time, gets worn out and starts to make poor decisions.
“I think the jobs are now far more difficult than they were five years ago, 10 years ago in particular, and 20 years ago it’s not even close.”
Gillis was awarded the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award in 2011 and was the architect of two Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks teams.