For the second time in a decade, the Vancouver Canucks have acquired Dave Gagner.
The former NHLer, whose best days came as a member of the Minnesota North Stars when he helped lead them to a Stanley Cup Final in 1991, was named Director of Player Personnel yesterday while Stan Smyl was reassigned to Director of Collegiate Scouting.
Called “the key to the deal” when Brian Burke sent Pavel Bure to Florida for a package that included Ed Jovanovski, Gagner leaves his role as an assistant coach with the OHL’s London Knights to join the Canucks. Gagner is the father of the Oilers’ Sam Gagner, and if he can find a few players like his son, this appointment will pay off in spades.
In hiring Gagner, Ryan Walter and Scott Mellanby, general manager Mike Gillis appears to have a clear mantra: Bring in respected people within the game regardless of whether they have direct experience in the positions they are being hired for.
>> Kevin Constantine is the latest to weigh in on Kyle Beach, the talented, but allegedly temperamental, teenager who’s the wild card at the top of today’s NHL draft.
The former bench boss of the Sharks, Penguins and Devils coached Beach two years ago with the Everett Silvertips, and says the young power forward is certainly worth the risk he is perceived to present. Constantine says the Silvertips were warned of Beach’s lack of discipline and maturity before they drafted him in the WHL, but adds that he never had any off-ice problems with the Kelowna product.
Constantine admits that he would rather draft a player with considerable talent and questionable personality rather than vice versa as he believes the latter is much easier to manage. Beach has been projected as the 10th pick (which the Canucks happen to hold) in the draft, but recent speculation suggests that he will be drafted before the Canucks have the opportunity to snare him.
>> If you don’t believe Wally Buono’s roster decisions are professional as opposed to personal, ask Gino Guidugli.
Buono seemed happy with Guidugli’s progress through last season and it was reasonable to believe that would be the Lions’ third-string quarterback this season. However, Zac Champion outperformed Guidugli in training camp, and Buono believes the freshman will end up being the better pivot in the long run. Buono has long said that his job as GM is to find players better than the ones he currently has, and he appears to be sticking with that mantra once again.
– How to make a Scott Rintoul: Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously.
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