Chris Chelios Retires: Best Active Candidates for a Front Office Job
Long time NHL defenseman Chris Chelios finally called it quits at a tender age of 48, and will join one of his former teams, the Detroit Red Wings, in a front office position.
Chelios played 26 seasons in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit, and the Atlanta Thrashers. A future Hall of Famer, Chelios appeared in the playoffs in 24 of his 26 seasons.
The Chicago, Illinois native contributed so much to the game on the ice, but he was also a big influence off the ice, teaching kids how to play the game.
Chelios has 18 years experience instructing different hockey camps, including seven years for the Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios Charity Hockey Camp.
He's also a business man as he has three restaurants in Dearborn, Detroit, and Clinton Township in Michigan.
To question whether he will succeed in some kind of front office position would not be very smart, but it got me thinking of what active players are candidates to migrate from the ice to the front office.
No. 5: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
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It's the obvious choice, and probably the most logical candidate for a front office position once he walks away from the game in 20-plus years, but I'm not trying to be Mr. Obvious.
Crosby is everything he was supposed to be and more, and he's only 23 years old. Right now, Sid the Kid could walk away from hockey and say he has accomplished more than some of the NHL greats.
The Penguins superstar has more accomplishments to his name than you can imagine at such a young age. Crosby has a Stanley Cup, a Gold Medal, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, and so many more from his days in Juniors that it would be crazy to list them.
Sidney Crosby is the best player in the game today, and will most likely go down as the best player in this generation. The '80s and '90s had Wayne Gretzky, the '00s will have Sidney Crosby.
Plain and simple, Crosby is a prime candidate to either join the front office once he retires or make the jump behind the bench.
No. 4: Mike Modano, Detroit Red Wings
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When his playing days are behind him, Mike Modano will leave the game of hockey as one of the best American-born players ever to play the game.
Like Chelios, Modano has 20 years experience playing in the NHL and had a historic career as part of the Dallas Stars organization for two decades. Now, the 40-year-old will be playing with the Detroit Red Wings in an attempt to win one more Stanley Cup before he retires.
Modano holds the records for most points by a U.S. born player (1,359) and the most goals scored by an American (557). He has also played in the most games by a U.S. born forward (1,459).
He may have the "I'm headed to Hollywood" look, but Mike Modano is a hockey player. Arguably the best U.S. player, Modano is an icon.
Another future Hall of Famer whose career triumphs all else, Modano is pretty much guaranteed a position in the Stars' organization when he retires, that's all we know.
For all he did for hockey in Texas, Modano deserves a front office position. In other words, the Stars should be paying him money until the day he drops. He's the reason why the Stars succeeded in Dallas.
That's the kind of guy I'm looking for in a front office position.
No. 3: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
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Listen, I tried to come up with a list of guys who are best active candidates for a front office job, but it's just too hard not to include elite players who are pretty much guaranteed a job off the ice once they hang up the skates.
That's why Martin Brodeur is third on my list.
Brodeur is the face of the Devils organization, and will always be. As long as he breaths oxygen, when you put hockey and New Jersey in the same sentence, Marty Brodeur is going to be the first face you'll see.
Marty's so good that the NHL installed a rule in the post-lockout era in an attempt to create offense. In other words, they did everything possible to get more pucks past Brodeur.
They made the pads smaller, didn't stop Marty.
They added a trapezoid to try and prevent Brodeur from playing the puck, still he kills the forecheck.
The last resort for Gary Bettman is to ban him from the game because he's too good at stopping black pucks.
Brodeur is headed to Jersey's front office when he hangs 'em up.
No. 2: Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
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Seeing a pattern?
Chris Chelios played for the Detroit Red Wings. Mike Modano is going to suit up as a Wing in the 2010-11 season, and now the No. 2 active player destined for a front office position plays in Detroit.
Detroit's captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, was well respected around the NHL as the best defenseman in the league for a long period of time. It got to a point where we seriously considered re-naming the Norris Trophy to the Lidstrom Trophy.
A six-time Norris Trophy winner, four-time Stanley Cup winner, and a Conn Smythe winner, Lidstrom has one heck of a resume not to be in the hockey business post-playing days.
With 17 years in the NHL, Lidstrom is one of a few loyal active players. When you think of loyal in the old days, players would play for one team for their whole career. Now-a-days, we have guys going from team-to-team.
Lidstrom played his entire career in Detroit.
You can bet that the Wings already have a position for Lidstrom when he calls it quits. He's done so much for the organization on the ice that they're going to help him off the ice. Look at Steve Yzerman. He was in the Wings' front office for a little bit after retiring before getting the GM position with Tampa Bay.
Lidstrom could be another Red Wing making the jump to the front office.
No. 1: Owen Nolan, Unrestricted Free Agent
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And the top active candidate to secure a front office position when it's all said and done is Owen Nolan.
Nolan currently is an unrestricted free agent after playing the last two seasons with the Minnesota Wild. He counts as an active player, since he has yet to officially retire. Buster will probably suit up for another season with the Wild.
The 38-year-old veteran may surprise you that he's only 38 years old as he has been in the league since I was born. Nolan was selected with the first overall pick by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1990 NHL draft.
Twenty years ago, he was entering the league at the age of 18. Nolan is approaching 40, but when you consider Chelios, Modano, and Lidstrom are all 40-or-over, and have been in the league for about the same time as Owen Nolan, it could take someone by surprise.
Nolan is a tough as nails, gritty power forward with phenomenal leadership ability and take whatever it takes to win. The sad thing is, he's without a Stanley Cup.
There's just something about Nolan that makes me think he could do well in a front office position. Plus, his name is kinda cool.
For example, how does this sound: Owen Nolan, assistant general manager.