Las Vegas NHL team closes in on two GM candidates: Report

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22: Owner Bill Foley of the new Las Vegas NHL franchise attends the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Las Vegas NHL team is reportedly down to two candidates for the team’s general manager position.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke with team owner Bill Foley, who said that an announcement for a general manager could come in the near future.

“We’re hoping to have an announcement in a few days,” Foley said Monday. “We’ve got two primary candidates and we’re trying to get this done. We need to get a scouting staff hired and whoever we hire as our GM will be responsible for putting the (scouting) staff together.”

Foley interviewed candidates at his Montana ranch last week and believes he will get a GM with a solid amount of hockey experience. Former NHLer Murray Craven is advising Foley on hockey matters as he makes his choice.

“I can tell you the people we talked to are all well-known in the hockey community and are well-respected,” Foley said. “They’re all very smart and they’ve done different things for different teams. Some are strong on the (salary) cap. Some are strong when it comes to assessing talent. But they all have strong backgrounds.”

One candidate that seemed to make sense was Florida Panthers president of hockey operations Dale Tallon. This offseason, the Panthers moved Tallon to a different title from general manager even though the team said he still had the final say on personnel decisions. Tallon is known to have some of the best scouts eyes in the NHL amongst general managers and could have helped a Las Vegas expansion team build its talent pool through the draft.

“We never talked,” Tallon told the Review-Journal. “I know he asked my owner (Vincent Viola) for permission and he was given it. They’re both West Point guys. But I never heard from Mr. Foley.”

According to the story, Foley hasn’t reached out to Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager Norm MacIver who is considered a rising management name in the sport.

Wrote Sin Bin Vegas on the 65-year-old Tallon:

Tallon is probably the guy with the best resume to take this job. He’s got the most experience and the most success, but father time is not on his side.

Las Vegas could use a GM that’s ready to do it his way and plans on being here for a long time. Someone who has that certain look in their eye, and whose vision matches up to what (Bill Foley) and Murray Craven are looking for.

Sin Bin believes the general manager will be in the Doug Risebrough, Don Maloney, or George McPhee template. In the past, Foley had said he wanted to hire an assistant general manager before he picked a GM or a coach.

“We should be able to field a very competitive team in Year One and we’ll make the playoffs as fast as we can,” Foley said after the NHL announced it would expand into Las Vegas for the 2017-18 season. “We’re going to be dedicated, we’re going to be focused. We’re going to take no prisoners and we expect to be successful early.”

UPDATE: The Las Vegas NHL franchise has scheduled a 1 p.m. local time news conference for Wednesday to name a general manager. TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculated that it could be former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee, but no concrete reports have been publicized.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!