Patrick Roy claims Avalanche Hockey Ops job wasn’t his demand; top pick in play?

Greg Wyshynski

Patrick Roy calls his dual role as head coach and VP of hockey operations with the Colorado Avalanche a “perfect situation” for himself and executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic.

But ever since the Avs hired Roy, there’s been some question about who created the situation.

Roy hasn’t coached a day in the National Hockey League, but he’s been treated like the rock star that he was as a player by team president Josh Kroenke. According to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, Roy has a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth year.

For comparison’s sake, Kirk Muller was given a deal by the Carolina Hurricanes that paid him for the duration of the 2011-12 season and then three more. Muller was an assistant with the Canadiens for five years and was briefly the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL before his hiring.

Roy has been the head coach of the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior League since 2005, but held another title even before that: VP of hockey operations. (He was also the general manger and owner of the team).

So the question was: Did Roy demand a role in player personnel to go along with his coaching gig?

St. Patrick insists he would have been happy to accept the Colorado offer without any formal title in team management.

“In our discussion with Josh and Joe in Florida, I said at the junior level I’m involved in different ways: I’m the GM of the team. So I offered them: ‘If you guys need me to do more, I’d be more than happy to do more,’” Roy said at his introductory press conference on Tuesday in Denver.

“Joe called me back and said, ‘Patty, we’re comfortable with you being involved in the hockey decisions.’”

Later, Roy was asked: Was being a VP of hockey ops essential to his hiring as Avalanche coach?

Roy said it wasn’t.

“Would I come here if I would be just a coach? The answer is yes,” he said.

“I’m honestly … I’m not here because I’m a VP of hockey operation. But I’m happy that Joe gives me that opportunity. All those 10 years in Quebec I did both jobs – the last eight, actually – and I was very comfortable.

“But Joe is now my boss. I wanted to make sure that at the same time he was comfortable with what I can bring to the team. It shows what kind of person Joe Sakic is. He’s every unselfish.”

And also quite secure in believing that a guy who was Master of All He Surveys in juniors won’t attempt to usurp his command in the NHL.

The first major test for the Joe And Patty Show: The Avs’ No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Seth Jones, the defenseman who became a hockey player thanks to the Avalanche, has been chatted up as the obvious option. But Patrick Roy saw plenty of Nathan MacKinnon in the QMJHL, and might be partial to the top-rated forward.

“Are we going to keep first overall? Are we going to move first overall?” Roy wondered aloud, thereby putting the Colorado top draft pick in play during his introductory press conference.

What if Sakic wants Jones and Roy wants MacKinnon? According to the former Avs goalie, he’ll defer to his former captain on personnel decisions.

“It’s not about ego. It’s about winning,” said Roy.