Seattle expansion franchise may hire GM this summer

During Saturday Headlines the panel discussed the Senators looking for a hockey operations president, the return of both Quinn Hughes and Austin Watson as well as if there will be any changes to the current NHL playoff format.

They’re still two full seasons away from hitting the ice for their inaugural campaign, but it sounds like Seattle’s NHL franchise is looking to get a head start in hockey operations.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the club may be looking to hire a general manager as soon as this summer.

“The Seattle expansion group has not ruled out the possibility of bringing someone in to lead their hockey operations department now, even though it’s still two years until the expansion draft,” Johnston said. “They’re not working off a firm timeline but they’re certainly looking at all options and want to be best positioned to get the best candidates. So there’s a chance that Edmonton could be looking at someone Seattle is, and there might be some competition there.”

It was announced that the city was awarded an NHL franchise back in December, and the Seattle TBDs are slated to join the league for the 2021-22 season.

To put their early hunt for a GM in context, the Vegas Golden Knights hired George McPhee as their GM in July 2016. That gave him about 11 months to assemble his bench and prepare for the expansion draft, and just over a year before icing an NHL squad.

If Seattle does indeed hire a GM this off-season, it won’t be its first notable front-office addition. The ownership group hired longtime coach Dave Tippett as a senior advisor back in July 2018 — before it even got the go-ahead to join the league.

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Tippett might be someone to keep an eye on in the coming months.

“Right now he is a senior advisor there, but it’s unclear in terms of where his future is with the Seattle franchise,” he said.

In his current position, Tippett oversees all areas of the expansion franchise. At the time of his hiring, there was also a possibility that he would eventually take the reins as head coach, too.

“If he is potentially going to be the coach of Seattle, that’s still a full two years away,” said Kypreos. “As we start hearing of jobs opening up throughout the National Hockey League, probably at the end of the season, rest assured Dave Tippett’s name would be in the mix, amongst many.”

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