There are some big rumors surrounding the open general manager's chair in the Florida Panthers front office and now two pretty big names have been added to the list of candidates reportedly being considered by that organization. On Saturday National Hockey League insider Larry Brooks provided some key updates on several men who have interviewed for the job, including Eddie Olczyk and former New York Rangers forward Chris Drury.
Slap Shots has learned the Rangers’ assistant GM has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant spot in Florida following an initial interview with the Panthers’ upper management conducted the week of Aug. 16.
It says a great deal about Drury, an assistant general manager with the New York Rangers, that he is willing to pull himself out of the running for such a high profile job. There are many who expect he will ascend to the role of NHL GM soon enough and it may be that Drury simply feels a better opportunity will come his way. Brooks surprisingly also revealed that long time NHL analyst and broadcaster Eddie Olczyk has also interview for the position with the Panthers and even went so far as to suggest that Olczyk is expected to be among the finalists for the position, a big transition for fans who have watched him on NBC for the last decade plus.
As you would expect however there will be numerous candidates for a position of this stature and it sounds like another name is being thrown into the mix, that of much maligned former Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli. I didn't like the job Chiarelli did in Edmonton and I am always surprised when his name comes up in connection to a general manager's position, however the source of the information here is a good one. Florida Panthers insider George Richards echoed the report from Brooks today and added that he has received confirmation of the Panthers interest in Chiarelli.
I think it would be a real shame to see a guy like Chiarelli, a general manager that I believe largely took credit for great moves from Jeff Gorton in Boston, get another shot over someone like Olczyk but I won't be the one making the decision here. The future does look bright for Olczyk, a man who recently won a battle with cancer, with reports that the Panthers may not even be the only team interested in him. TSN's Darren Dreger reports that he believes there is "more than one team" with interest in Eddie O.