Don Sweeney, Paul Fenton, and The Great One

The Capitals’ search for a new general manager continues, and while the process is pretty hush-hush, some details have gotten out.

Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column names several candidates for new Caps GM, including Don Sweeney, Paul Fenton, and Ray Shero. He also mentions that Wayne Gretzky could be brought in to run the organization:

10. Boston’s Peter Chiarelli might be getting lonely. It would be no surprise if he lost Benning and several sources indicate another valuable member of his staff, Don Sweeney, interviewed in Washington. (Chiarelli declined to comment).

11. Didn’t expect to hear much about the Capitals until after the NBA Wizards were eliminated, which happened late last week to Indiana. There were a lot of conflicting rumours about their openings, but Sweeney was interviewed and it sounds like Nashville’s [Assistant GM] Paul Fenton was too. (Glenn Healy reported last week Fenton also met with the Canucks). Of course, Shero’s availability alters everything. If he’d stayed in Pittsburgh and Bylsma was out, the belief was Shero would chase Barry Trotz, since they worked together in Nashville. It sure makes sense for Washington, but as I write this, there is no evidence it is close to reality.

12. The toughest part of this search is determining where things stand with Wayne Gretzky. There definitely were conversations, but it’s hard to pin down what’s happening. One of the considerations for Washington is who would run the organization with him. CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley mentioned Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean, and it makes sense. Again, though, it’s tough to know for sure.

The Score says of Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeny :

Sweeney, a former NHL defenseman who spent 15 seasons playing for the Bruins during his playing career, oversees player development for the Bruins in addition to having “a supervisory role in the day-to-day operations of the hockey department” per

That leaves us with a short, and probably not comprehensive list of candidates. Here’s a quick rundown on each.

Don Sweeney

  • 47 years old
  • Played over 1,115 NHL games, all but 63 for the Boston Bruins
  • Worked for Bruins management since 2006
  • Did not win the Cup as a player, name engraved as part of 2011 Bruins championship
  • Was involved in that epic Boston-Caps brawl with Kolzig vs Defoe

Paul Fenton

  • 54 years old
  • Journeyman winger: Whalers, Rangers, Kings, Jets, Leafs, Flames, Sharks
  • Served as Assistant GM of Nashville Predators for eight years
  • No Cups, though he came close with the 2003 Ducks
  • Mentored by former Caps GM David Poile
  • Also serves as the General Manager of the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL

Ray Shero

  • 51 years old
  • Never played in the NHL
  • Also served under David Poile in Nashville for eight years before becoming GM of Pittsburgh in 2006
  • Won the Cup in 2009, mostly just by firing Michel Therrien
  • Not the best drafter ever
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  • Matthew Kory

    Shero scares me. At this point, I’ll take anyone associated with the Bruins. I’ll take the Garden’s janitor. Yay janitor!

  • Yo8

    I know maintaining the website costs money, time, and effort but those Sidney Crosby and Penguins ads are a pain in the ass… just saying.

  • katzistan

    So, assuming we don’t go with Shero (which I hope is true – he’s both not that great, and tainted by association with the Penguins), it looks like we’re getting another rookie…

    Please, keep Gretzky away from the Caps. Great player, no doubt, but not a good manager – he was terrible in Phoenix, and they got good when he left. We don’t need someone associated with the Caps just for their superstar aura. MJ didn’t help the Wizards and Gretzky won’t help the Caps – he would only be a distraction.

  • Jonathan Kenny

    What’s the story with Benning!?

  • From what I’ve seen, he’s the front-runner for the Canucks open GM spot. Our friend Jonathan Willis wrote up a really great profile about him you can check out to learn more:

  • Shero-Trotz 2014

    Is FedFed going to start going on and on about how bad Sweeney’s drafting as well? Sweeney joined less than a week before the 2006 draft, so let’s take a look at the players they have drafted since 2007 that have made the NHL:

    1st round, 8th overall – Zach Hamill (C) – 20 GP, 4 A. Only pick out of 6 to make the NHL, now plays in the KHL. Logan Couture, Brandon Sutter, Ryan McDonagh, Lars Eller, and Kevin Shattenkirk all went within the next 6 picks.

    1st round, 16th overall – Joe Colborne (C) – 96 GP, 11 G, 23 A. Traded in the Kaberle deal that was more or less a bust for the Bruins even though they won the Cup, but they lost a trade and that’s not acceptable even with a Cup. Never mind that Colborne hasn’t been able to stick on a “NHL” roster until the Flames kept him for their tank job this season.
    2nd round, 47th overall – Maxime Sauve (C) – 1 GP. AHL lifer.
    3rd round, 77th overall – Michael Hutchenson (G) – 3 GP, 2 W, 1L. Currently the starter with Jets’ AHL team. Started 3 games for the Jets this season as a call up.
    4th round, 97th overall, Jamie Arniel (C) – 1 GP. Currently bouncing around teams in Europe.

    1st round, 25th overall – Jordan Caron (RW) – 123 GP, 12 G, 16 A. 4th line grinder that spends more time in the pressbox than on the ice.
    4th round, 112th overall – Lane MacDermid (LW) – 21 GP, 2 G, 2 A. Tweener that gets an occasional call up from the AHL.

    1st round, 2nd overall – Tyler Seguin (C) – 283 GP, 93 G, 112 A. No brainer pick that was eventually traded for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, and Joe Morrow (LOL IDIOTS TRADED FOR A SHERO DRAFT PICK). Seguin would go on to have a career season while Eriksson ends up having one of his worst.
    2nd round, 45th overall – Ryan Spooner (C) – 27 GP, 11 A. Gets occasional call ups from Providence.
    4th round, 97th overall – Craig Cunningham (LW) – 2 GP. Providence mainstay that got a 2 game call up this season.
    5th round, 135th overall – Justin Florek (LW) – 4 GP, 1 G, 1 A. Another Providence mainstay that got a 4 game call up this season.
    7th round, 210th overall – Zach Trotman (D) – 2 GP. See Craig Cunningham.

    1st round, 9th overall – Dougie Hamilton (D) – 106 GP, 12 G, 29 A. Pick from Kessel trade.
    2nd round, 40th overall – Alex Khokhlachev (C) – 1 GP. One of the players Boston was going to trade in the failed Iginla trade of 2013.

    How did the Bruins ever win anything with these clowns in charge, and how have they stayed competitive without generational drafts?

  • bskillet

    Shero obviously put together a good team, Fenton might be a better choice and Sweeney even better….NO Gretzky, great players don’t automatically make good GM’s or coaches as we know, I think he would be the worst choice out there.

  • Mac

    Shero is good. Just cuz his scouting sucks ass and he is told by his top scouting officials to draft guys who will never play in the nhl doesn’t make him a bad GM. Still one of the best at trading and gets great players who turn out better once they get to his team (Jussi Jokinnen)

  • Sooo … it seems we’ve graduated from hiring coaches with no prior experience to hiring a GM with no prior experience (in the lead position). That does not seem wise.

  • Rob W.

    Give me Sweeney/Fenton + Trotz while keeping our scouts and Ill be happy.

  • Lawrence

    Boy, seeing some of these candidates makes me wish GMGM could be rehired haha, but in all seriousness, I have no idea who is right for this team. No one seems like a perfect fit.

  • Sarah

    Our fearless bloggers probably can’t fix the many issues of contextual advertising. And if we keep saying “pain in the ass” we’ll just start getting ads for Preparation H.
    While this would still be a tremendous improvement, I suggest we reignite the Chipotle-Qdoba debate, so we can look at burrito ads.

  • I’d think that drafting poorly makes one a bad GM, and continuing to invest faith in a bad scouting team makes one a bad manager.

  • NotGretzky

    I believe Jim Benning has run their drafts in any event. Sweeney has been more of a player development guy.

  • AloeCap10

    Shero scares me especially his draft history. Thats the one thing that GMGM did pretty well. I’d hate to see that go away. But He does have a good relationship with player agents and has created teams that players want to play for which doesnt seem to be the case for the caps. I’d rather see Sweeney or Fenton.

  • Bradley Spies

    We need an x-factor to make this interesting. Ky-le Du-bas! *clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*

  • Fedor

    Wow, I’m getting some haters. Lovin’ it, bring it on, man.

  • Everyone’s saying for #99 not to come here. But why couldn’t we use Gretzky in an executive capacity? President of hockey ops. It’s a new model of executive structure of owner, PHO, GM and head coach. Patrick will have to cede a good deal of power. Something like that. Not hired as a GM though but when he took over for Hockey Canada, he did demonstrate some great front office skill to make Canada the premier hockey power again. The man does have some vision

  • Sarah

    That’s when you’ve really arrived. Next they’ll be on about your plus/minus.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Should be the frontrunner for the Caps. Maybe he wants a complete rebuild instead of a retool like the Caps?

  • Fedor

    What is blogger’s +/-? That’s a serious question, because we need some metric to bash bloggers we don’t like.

  • Fedor

    Also interesting that a hater doesn’t even know Lane MacDermid has retired during the last season.

  • Mine’s plus infinity and beyond

  • Sarah

    Bulldogs, ferrets, victory loaf, Russian translations, and all mentions of Sergei Fedorov count plus. Ads for Crosby jerseys count minus. You guys are Rocket Richard but in the red lately. Play some defense!

  • Sarah

    Oh no, wait, the Crosby ads are all of us going on about how we hate him all the time and the computer picking it up and it’s not your fault. Still, I’m going to criticize you for it til I’m blue in the face. Because you’re Russian, Fedor. Sorry that’s how it works.

  • Just me

    I do not want trots as the next coach. I like him but I don’t think he is a good fit. Can we all just ignore Gormley the dude is terrible and at this point he is doing less reporting and more pushing his own agenda. The guy sucks.

  • standarsh

    This would be my “dream package” as well

  • Shero-Trotz 2014

    Incorrect. The Bruins have been drafting poorly and are likely to lose both of their assistant GMs.

  • brian!

    Agree with the “keep Gretzky away” narrative, but that Sweeney/Fenton narrative is intriguing.

  • brian!

    That’s great and all, but how are you at Falling With Style?

  • brian!

    Soooo enigmatic!

  • brian!

    I don’t disagree. I like him, but IIRC Trotz was the beneficiary of two superstar defensemen and an above-average goalie in Nashville. He’d be working a more offensive-minded crowd here in DC, which may not play to his strengths.

  • Shero-Trotz 2014

    Also interesting that all you can find in a hater’s post to refute is a something that only further undermines your own point.

  • Diller M

    not only a hater, but a cool nickname too!

  • Eric Schulz

    If we were rebuilding, then I’d have no problem going after smart guys with little to no track record. As it is… we don’t necessarily look like a contender NOW, but we easily could after the free agency period. I would have no problem adding Gretzky if it were as kind of the right-hand man to the GM (a role similar to what Shanahan is – I think? – filling for the Leafs).
    Anybody from the Bruins or Kings would excite me.

  • Sarah

    Your hyphenation of your candidates’ names raises an interesting issue: what anagrams can we make with them? Oates-McPhee, for example, yields “Teaches Mope.” Which we learned we don’t want.
    But Shero-Trotz yields “Zero Troths,” implying that all bets are off. And Shero-Bylsma results in “Harmless Boy,” which we also probably don’t want. Gretzky-Trotz yields no anagrams at all, even with the Internet Anagram Server.
    I invite you to continue your analysis with these incomplete and tenuously relevant facts.

  • wikipuff

    Not having a neck scares me.