For Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe, the world—as they knew it—is likely over. Talk of Kevin Lowe exiting the system, Peter Chiarelli coming in and taking a position below Bob Nicholson but above MacT as GM, signal the end days for a management run that began in the spring of 2000 with Glen Sather’s move to Manhattan.
I don’t think it will reach the point where MacTavish is replaced as GM, but it’s absolutely true the conversations will be more formal and the fresh blood above him will have major impact on the decisions moving forward. Along with the Lowe exit, one suspects we’ll see some scouts let go—I don’t know when the scouts meet to decide on the actual list, but with Bob Green and Scott Howson retained and the scouting reports through the season, now is probably a reasonable time to fire all the scouts who won’t be moving forward.
Pro scouts? Amateur scouts? My guess is yes.
Is this enough? Is this better? I don’t think any of us can say with authority. It is different and does represent change, with one of the key men in the organization over the last 15 years apparently on the way out. A quick look at Peter Chiarelli’s track record suggests a successful GM who made some major errors (Seguin, Boychuk) but he’s a guy I would have had on a list of bona fide choices to replace MacT.
That doesn’t appear to be in the cards. To review (my guess):
- Chiarelli as President of Hockey Ops (with a slight chance, say 20%, he is also named GM)
- Kevin Lowe out to spend time with family
- Many scouts gone, pro and amateur
- MacT (likely) remains, with Chiarelli in mentor/authority role (80% there, there’s always a chance he balks)
Green and Howson review scouting reports, make recommendations to MacT and Chiarelli, and my guess is we see a skeleton crew at the draft table this summer.