NHL Draft 2012: Who Should Represent Each NHL Team at the Podium?

John B MathesonCorrespondent IJune 20, 2012

NHL Draft 2012: Who Should Represent Each NHL Team at the Podium?

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    With the NHL Entry Draft days away, the 30 teams are preparing their draft choices. Each team will select its potential players of the future in Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday.

    In doing so, teams will send representatives to select and welcome their draft choices to their respected organizations.

    For some clubs, the choice of representatives is an easy one, since for the most part this falls under the duties of GM.

    But in other cases, the selections may be a bit more difficult. Fans may no longer believe in the GM, or the organization may have recently fired its GM.

    In the following slides, we'll look at whom each team should send as its representative. In some cases, there may be more than one to be present.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Anaheim is one of the teams where the fanbase is becoming restless.

    For owners Henry and Susan Samueli, this could be their time to let the fanbase know they have faith in their GM by attending the draft as well.

    GM Bob Murray may be under the microscope by the Ducks' fanbase, but being accompanied by the owners should send the fans the message that they are behind Murray's decisions.

    The Samueli's are not overly active in the day-to-day operation of the club, but their presence at the draft would go a long way in the eyes of the fans.

Boston Bruins

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    The Bruins have had an interesting year in the media, mainly due to star goaltender Tim Thomas.

    The latest announcement from Thomas has cast some uncertainty on the future of the club.

    An easy way to quell this situation is for both GM Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien to represent Boston at the draft together.

    For both of them to appear at the draft for Boston shows the fans that despite the current roster issues, these two have a solid plan moving forward.

    Should Boston be looking at Henrik Samuelsson, as is rumoured via the Boston Globe, then having President and Alternating Governor Cam Neely at the podium would be the right choice.

    This could add an interesting dynamic, as Samuelsson's father, Ulf, is credited with ending Neely's career. 

Buffalo Sabres

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    The Sabres enter the draft with rumours (via diebytheblade.com) surrounding a past draft pick leaving town. Brad Boyes becomes a free agent on July 1st.

    Sabres fans are getting restless with GM Darcy Regier's picks, as they never seem to pan out in Buffalo. In recent years, five of Regier's picks have moved on to play for other teams.

    Regier could be looking for some support from owner Terrence Pegula come draft day. While he could take head coach Lindy Ruff, some fans feel the departures are partly his fault as well.

    With the owner at his side, the fans may have more confidence that the organization will do what it takes to keep their top draft picks in Buffalo.

Calgary Flames

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    On May 31st, the Calgary Flames announced that Bob Hartley would be their new head coach.

    A good strategy for teams that have newly appointed coaches is to bring them to the draft to assist the GM in the decisions.

    This strategy works well. The new coach can look at the draft choices, as he will one day be coaching them when they make it to the NHL.

    More so than with standing coaches, having the club's newly hired coach at the draft will show that the Flames are looking to progress in the future.

    It can also help to have the new coach's input if trades occur on draft day.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has done fairly well in the first round in previous drafts. Names like Jeff Skinner, Andrew Ladd and Eric Staal were all first-round picks.

    The issue that remains for Carolina is its lack of playoff appearances since it won the Stanley Cup.

    According to the Toronto Sun, there are current rumours that the Hurricanes' No. 8 pick is on the table, for the right price. This has linked them to trade talks with both Columbus and Pittsburgh.

    Carolina can get away with just having Jim Rutherford present, as he has shown in the past to be savvy with his selections.

    Either way it goes for the Hurricanes—whether they trade their first-round pick or keep it—Rutherford is a confident drafter who has made some good picks.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    With the 18th pick in the first round, Chicago will be looking for players to add to the longevity of the club's success.

    Having won the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks have since been knocked out in the first round in subsequent years. They need to rely on their scouts to help them moving forward.

    When GM Stan Bowman makes his picks, having some, if not all, of the amateur scouts present will help him immensely.

    Yet the person who should be there with the GM is his father and Senior Advisor, Scotty Bowman. Having the Hall of Famer present quietly shows the draft picks the legacy of Chicago's organization.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Colorado has been in the process of a rebuild for the last few seasons. Although it traded its first-round pick to Washington, expect Colorado to continue its rebuild.

    When Avalanche GM Greg Sherman steps up to make Colorado's first pick at No. 41, he should have with him the Director of Amateur Scouting, Rick Pracey.

    In a recent conference call with the media, Pracey explained in broad terms the Avalanche's plan for the draft.

    Colorado has had some success finding players with a lot of potential in the later rounds of the draft, and having Rick Pracey present on draft day will help make Sherman's job easier.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The Columbus organization needs to pull together this offseason if it is going to keep any faith of its fans.

    With Rick Nash on the market, Columbus will be losing its star player.

    The Blue Jackets have the second overall pick, which could be used to grab their next star. However, amid some offseason trades last year that did not pan out, Columbus fans have little faith in GM Scott Howson.

    Should Howson be accompanied to the draft by a cadre of front office staff, it should include Assistant GM Chris MacFarland and Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Castron.

    Another face that should be among those representing the Blue Jackets is majority owner John P. McConnell.

    McConnell's presence will help ensure that Columbus is united in the front office and stand behind Howson's decisions. 

Dallas Stars

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    The Stars are another team in the process of rebuilding, having missed the postseason for the last four straight years.

    They have a lot of young talent in the system that is starting to get recognition, such as Jamie Benn.

    For Dallas, having a few key players that it drafted already making a difference is a good thing.

    Joe Nieuwendyk has been the GM since 2009, and initially he was limited in what moves he could perform, due to the financial instability of then owner Tom Hicks.

    A good strategy for Nieuwendyk is to bring along the new owner, Tom Gaglardi. His presence will help end the thoughts that Dallas is still battling financial woes.

    It will also show Gaglardi's faith in his GM and Nieuwendyk's decisions.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Like Carolina, the Detroit Red Wings traded away their first-round pick to Tampa Bay.

    Unlike Carolina, GM Ken Holland is well-liked and respected by the Detroit fanbase. He could show up by himself to make the picks and represent the Red Wings.

    Part of the reason that Holland is respected is due to his hockey sense.

    It's for that reason he will more likely than not bring along Director of Pro Scouting Joe McDonnell and Director of Operations James Bullo.

Edmonton Oilers

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    The Oilers are in an interesting position this year, holding the No. 1 overall draft pick for the third year in a row.

    It is almost certain that Steve Tambellini will be making the choices for Edmonton. With no head coach to give his input, he will have to look elsewhere in the organization for advice.

    A few good choices would be for Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith, the assistant coaches, to be in Pittsburgh.

    Tambellini should also take with him the Director of Amateur Scouting, Stu MacGregor, to offer his scouting insights.

    It also would not be far-fetched to see them bring along Kevin Lowe, former GM of the Oilers and current President of Hockey Operations, to help advise the coach-less Tambellini.

Florida Panthers

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    Florida surprised everyone, including its fanbase, when it ended its 10-year postseason drought by leading the Southeast Division in 2011-2012.

    A large part of this success rests on the shoulders of Executive Vice President, General Manager and Head of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon.

    In this year's draft, he will be looking for players to help add some depth to the Panthers, to help prove this season was not a fluke.

    Tallon wears many hats in the organization, but don’t be surprised if he arrives with Assistant GM Michael Santos and Director of Scouting Scott Luce.

    Both Tallon and Santos are in their second year with the club, and this will mark their third draft. Although neither is new to the process, what better way to secure top picks than with the seasoned Luce?

    Luce has been with the Panthers for 10 years now, as a member of the scouting team he now leads. His experience with Florida and the draft should come in very handy.

Los Angeles Kings

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    The Los Angeles Kings will be picking last in this year's draft as the 2012 Stanley Cup winners.

    Expect them to follow the plan they have been using for the last few years when it comes to drafting their prospects.

    Dean Lombardi will have his work cut out for him drafting last, although he will have the ability to take some great talent that will probably move early in the second round.

    He should be looking to bring with him Assistant GM Ron Hextall, President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille and even coach Darryl Sutter.

    Lombardi has 24 years under his belt in the front office of an NHL team, he has served as a pro scout and should be able to utilize those abilities while drafting.

    Sutter, the midseason replacement coach, could add in a few of his own requests during the draft.

    Having Hextall and Robitaille present would be for the name effect, both being former players in the NHL. It also works well as these two have helped out as faces for the media for the Kings.

Minnesota Wild

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    There is a general consensus that Minnesota is a team on the rise. According to Harrison Mooney of Yahoo! Sports, they are currently one of the rumoured teams looking to acquire upcoming free agent Zach Parise.

    The Wild’s GM, Chuck Fletcher, is the type of GM who at one point in his career has worked most aspects of the front office.

    He served as an assistant GM in Pittsburgh as well as in Florida and Anaheim. He also served as a scout for the Ducks among many other roles until 2006, meaning he had a hand in building the 2007 championship team.

    He is one of the few GMs that could go to the draft by himself, but will most likely take coach Mike Yeo and Director of Amateur Scouting Guy Lapointe.

    If he does take the two mentioned, it will be as a support role, as Fletcher is one of the more capable GMs in the league.

Montreal Canadiens

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    Montreal had let go both their head coach and GM this season, which caused Geoff Molson to bring in Serge Savard to help him select the replacements.

    With Marc Bergevin taking over as the new GM and Michel Therrien as the new head coach, both these men should be present at the draft.

    As both are new to the organization and had no dealings with them during the season, they will need help to understand which players will work best with the existing team.

    That is where Patrick Boivin can come in handy; he is the current Director of Hockey Operations, having been appointed to that position in the summer of 2010.

    Boivin’s knowledge of the team should help clarify questions and help with the draft selections.

Nashville Predators

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    The Predators have become consistent contenders in the postseason. They unfortunately continue to fall short of the finals.

    GM David Poile should be leading the group that represents the Predators at the draft, along with head coach Barry Trotz. The two work well together and seem to share the same vision for the team.

    Jeff Kealty will likely be present at the draft as well as the Chief Amateur Scout, to add his input to Poile and Trotz.

    With upcoming free agent Ryan Suter taking the headlines, it has also cast a shadow of doubt on the team captain Shea Weber. Having Weber present could end that speculation, as he seems dedicated to Nashville.

New Jersey Devils

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    The Devils may have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the biggest story surrounding New Jersey is about its financial issues.

    The Devils will have GM Lou Lamoriello present at the draft, but he should have others with him in Pittsburgh.

    Those include Director of Scouting David Conte and VP of Hockey Operations Steve Pellegrini; head coach Peter DeBoer should also be in attendance.

    The big name that should be among the group representing the Devils at the draft is owner Jeff Vanderbeek. This could help quell the financial issues that the prospects may have.

New York Islanders

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    The Islanders have been struggling with a rebuild that has seen many problems over the last few years, and draft day has played a part in them.

    During the 2000 draft, the Islanders surprised many people. Rather than take Dany Heatley or Marian Gaborik with the first overall pick, the Islanders took goaltender Rick DiPietro.

    Shortly after taking over as GM Garth Snow then offered DiPietro a 15-year $67.6 million contract, who had only 58 wins and 62 losses in his 4 years of play in the NHL.

    DiPietro has been injury-prone since signing a large contract that has hurt the Islanders more than it has helped.

    Snow needs to bring more than just his scouts and coaches. Along with Director of Pro Scouting Ken Morrow and head coach Jack Capuano, the Isles need a player or two to explain their love of the club.

    Having forwards John Tavares and Matt Moulson present could help any prospects who are hesitant to sign with the Isles, as both players are with the team for the long term.

New York Rangers

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    For the Rangers, choosing their representatives for the draft should be an easy decision: Glen Sather and John Tortorella.

    The two work extremely well together and understand what is best for their goals.

    While the Rangers fell short this season, being defeated by the rival New Jersey Devils, they still have a strong team and decent prospects in the system.

    GM Sather has been in his position since 2000 and is responsible for picks such as Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto and Vezina nominated Henrik Lundqvist.

    There is no reason for the Rangers to change what works by sending Slats and Torts to the draft.

Ottawa Senators

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    The Senators were another surprise team this postseason, as some had predicted them to be sitting among the bottom teams all year.

    Their AHL affiliate team, the Binghamton Senators, was leaned on to lend support a few times this season, and the players all stepped up when needed.

    The success of the AHL players called up shows that the previous drafts have been successful, and they are starting to pay off.

    The Sens will send GM Bryan Murray to the draft; he has been with the organization since 2004 when he was brought in as head coach.

    Under Murray, the Sens have seen some success but have recently begun a rebuild, which means that the club will be leaning on Murray’s talents to lead them forward.

    Head coach Paul MacLean should be present as well, along with Daniel Alfredsson (should he not retire) in an effort to welcome the future players of the Senators.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Flyers were extremely busy during the offseason last year, although they were knocked out of the playoffs by New Jersey.

    In the past, they have made some wise decisions on draft day, and GM Paul Holmgren is looking to continue that trend.

    With him to aid in the draft should be head coach Peter Laviolette; he should work closely with Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor in assisting on draft day.

    The immediate changes the Flyers need will not come on draft day, but the proposed representatives will help keep focus for the future.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Phoenix has been seeing its share of on-ice success. As the Pacific Division champions this year, the Coyotes made it to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the LA Kings.

    While their success has yet to translate to a strong fanbase, the postseason run had the seats filled for each home game.

    Things are starting to turn around for the Coyotes, as there is a prospective buyer in the works even if they are being held up.

    This means that this is a very important year for the Coyotes at the draft. With the possibility of a new owner, it adds a little security to the team.

    GM Don Maloney will be there to make the selections, but with him should be head coach David Tippett and Director of Amateur Scouting Rick Knickle.

    Drafting as one unified group will send the message that this club intends to continue forward in creating a Stanley Cup-contending team.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Pittsburgh has turned its fortunes around in recent years through the draft. Names like Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and, of course, Sidney Crosby come to mind.

    Much of that has been due to receiving high picks a few years back, but they have still managed to do very well on draft day.

    Part of this is because the scouting staff is among the best in the league. As a result, Director of Amateur Scouting Jay Heinbuck should be present at the draft.

    The man who made history when he refused to don the Pens' jersey on draft day should also be present, and as it happens, Mario Lemieux is now Co-Owner and Chairman. 

St. Louis Blues

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    Under the guidance of midseason replacement Ken Hitchcock, the St. Louis Blues thrived. This will be his first draft as the Blues' head coach.

    Along with him should be Director of Hockey Operations Al MacInnis, a former Blues player himself, to aid GM Doug Armstrong in the draft.

    MacInnis, as a former player, can see talent in the young players involved in the draft. Hitchcock can use his years in the front office to help build on what the Blues currently posses.

San Jose Sharks

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    The Sharks' fans are among those who have become frustrated with the organization. The team has been a serious contender for a number of years, but it has failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

    In order for the fans to feel that the club is doing a proper job during the draft, a number of front office personnel should represent the Sharks on draft day.

    The obvious is GM Doug Wilson, who will make the picks. They should also have head coach Todd McLellan there for his input.

    In addition, the Sharks should have a member of their scouting team present; however, John Ferguson should not be it. Instead, it should be Tim Burke, the Director of Scouting.

    Ferguson was known by Toronto fans as the GM who made horrible draft-day decisions that never panned out. While he may have matured since the Leafs unceremoniously showed him the door, the stigma remains.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Tampa Bay is a team that needs few people representing them at the draft; the fanbase has faith in GM Steve Yzerman.

    His ability as a GM has been proven over the last few years, with the only grievance of late being keeping Roloson as the starting goalie. In his defense, Roloson had a good season in 2010-11.

    Steve Yzerman is not perfect, and he knows it, which is why he will likely bring with him the Director of Amateur Scouting, Al Murray.

    It would not be surprising to see Yzerman bring his Senior Advisor, Tom Kurvers, as well.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The Maple Leafs need to tread very carefully during this offseason. Fans want GM Brian Burke fired and were heard calling for it during home games at the end of this season.

    He will be there; however, he should not go alone.

    Randy Carlyle should be present at the draft as well. He was brought in as a midseason replacement for the fired Ron Wilson. The draft will be a good chance to start bringing in players that fit his system.

    One other person should also be present when the Leafs make their picks. With the Teacher’s Union selling their portion of the Leafs to cable and phone giants Bell and Rogers, MLSE needs to be there.

    That means that Larry Tanenbaum should be present to show faith in both their GM and new head coach.

Vancouver Canucks

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    The Canucks are in a unique position, as they were the President’s Trophy winners for the last two years.

    A year ago, they went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This year, they were knocked out in Round 1. This started a fan backlash and has also led to goalie Roberto Luongo being on the market.

    GM Mike Gillis should be at the draft as should owner representative Francesco Aquilini, who has already voiced his support of Gillis.

    Aquilini being at the draft in person solidifies that claim.

    Alain Vigneault should be among the representatives as well, partially as the fans want to see him let go. His presence can help him begin to reprove his value to the fanbase.

Washington Capitals

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    The Capitals lost head coach Dale Hunter when he told them he did not wish to re-sign with the club.

    That leaves GM George McPhee as a necessary representative at the draft; he should be joined by Director of Amateur Scouting Ross Mahoney, who has been in this position for 14 years.

    Mahoney is responsible for pointing out the talent of the previous draft picks that have ended up in Washington, and his presence on draft day can help with this year's.

    Another face to represent the Capitals on draft day could be Assistant Head Coach Jim Johnson. He knows the team well and can help advise what the Capitals' on-ice needs are.

Winnipeg Jets

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    This will be the first time since 1996—when the previous Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes—that Winnipeg will be involved in the draft.

    Expect GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to be present, making the picks that represent the future of this Winnipeg club.

    With him should be the head coach, Claude Noel, who has a more intimate knowledge of the team and its needs.

    Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Dobson will likely be there as well, helping flush out the organization's needs as the head coach has explained them.

    While Cheveldayoff may be the one making the pick in front of the media and crowd, it will more than likely be a combined effort of Noel and Dobson.

    This may not be Cheveldayoff’s first front office job in the NHL, but it is his first GM position. That is why you can expect him to work with his scouts and coaches when making his choices.