Risebrough would be good fit
Times hockey writer Damian Cristodero reported in Tuesday's paper that former Minnesota Wild general manager Doug Risebrough is "very interested'' in becoming the next GM of the Lightning. Here is Damian's story. Risebrough to Tampa Bay makes sense. He is close with Jac Sperling, the former WIld CEO who is helping new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik put a management team in place for the Lightning.
It also makes sense for another reason: Risebrough is a sharp and experienced hockey executive. I had a chance to cover Risebrough for three seasons in Minnesota when he was the Wild GM and I covered the team for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Risebrough guided the team through an expansion draft with several shrewd pickups, including little-known players at the time such as Filip Kuba, Jim Dowd, Andy Sutton and Sean O'Donnell. In the Wild's first NHL Entry Draft, Risebrough passed on several highly-rated players and selected Marian Gaborik, who has developed into an excellent NHL player. Risebrough also has the knack for picking up players off the scrap heap and giving them a chance to turn into solid NHL players. Andrew Brunette, Dwayne Roloson, Wes Walz and Richard Park quickly come to mind.
Trades? Risebrough showed deft skills, shipping out veterans for prospects who turned into steady NHL players, prospects such as Willie Mitchell and Stephane Villeaux. He also coaxed the best coach in the NHL out of retirement (Jacques Lemaire) to run his bench. In the end, the most impressive line on Risebrough's resume is he took a team with no players and, along with Lemaire, had that team in Western Conference final in three seasons. Imagine what he could do with a team that already has players such as Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis -- all of whom are better than just about any player who ever played for the Wild.