Smart NHL Ownership: Look for Managers and Coaches of the Future

Sean PaddisonCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2009

All this hype about Wilson and Burke in Toronto got me thinking.

The NHL style game changes dramatically over a four-year period, especially in the last six years.

The trouble is that the people hiring new general managers and coaches are often individuals who make the safe play, or look for a "track record" of success.

The flaw in this style of thinking is that today's heroes will be yesterday's zeros within two years or more in the NHL. Just look at the trend. What happened to Carolina, Tampa, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh.

For ownership to really be successful moving forward, I believe they need to be one step ahead of what is happening right now. They need to be able to locate a GM and coach tandem that has enough forward vision to see what will be needed in the league three years from now.

Modern technology and research techniques allow coaches to develop solutions to help them beat previously-unbeatable teams. The Penguins record this year is a strong example of what happens when coaches have enough time to learn how to beat other teams.

Sure, Brian Burke found that perfect formula to take the Ducks to the top; however, the chances that that formula will continue to work "as is" are pretty remote. Since Burke surprised the NHL with a tougher, faster lineup, the copycat parade commenced.

However, Detroit found a different formula to answer Burke's.

There will always be certain constants that help teams succeed, outside of the GM and coach influence. These constants are things like excellent scouting systems, fan support, and a patient ownership group.

This article obviously begs the question: Who out there right now has the vision required to win within the next three years?

I, for one, am not sure right who has that vision, as I'm not in daily contact with the sharp minds out there.

There are a few, rare GMs out there who have matured and adjusted their strategies to compensate for the game's changes. Scotty Bowman comes to mind as a dynamic and intelligent hockey mind.

I'm looking forward to seeing who the next great mind will to be. I have my eye on Gilmour, Yzerman, and Nieuwendyk as having massive potential.

Perhaps pairing Wilson with Burke might bring about new ideas, personally, I'm not convinced.