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The field of candidates to become the next General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers continues to shrink. As per Bob McKenzie of TSN, Vegas Golden Knights Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon is no longer in the running for the job.
McCrimmon was seen as one of the leaders in the clubhouse for the job. He was a major candidate from day one, and there was even some talk that the Oilers were sitting around and waiting for Vegas to be eliminated so they could talk to McCrimmon.
As a Western Canadian with strong WHL ties and a good drafting reputation, McCrimmon seemed like the ideal candidate for Bob Nicholson. Now, for whatever reason, this marriage will not happen.
What Went Wrong?:
Yesterday, in his 31 Thoughts article, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman updated people on Edmonton’s GM search and touched on McCrimmon. Here’s what he had to say about the Vegas executive’s potential chances in Northern Alberta.
3. We know Mark Hunter’s had two interviews with Edmonton. Now that the Under-18s are over, we’re going to find out if Ken Holland and Kelly McCrimmon are legitimate possibilities for the Oilers. The Red Wings took care of Holland, putting him in a position where he doesn’t need to chase. He has to decide if he wants to pursue this. As I write this, Vegas has not yet granted official permission for Edmonton to meet with McCrimmon, although an answer is expected at some point this week. He is, however, expected to ask for autonomy, and it will be interesting to see how the Oilers respond to that.
Now, there are a few possibilities here. First, and most alarming, is that the Oilers were not willing to give McCrimmon full autonomy. That would suggest that the club isn’t planning on making sweeping changes and that most of the front office staff will stay in place. That’s a major issue if true.
It’s also possible that McCrimmon simply didn’t want to work for the Oilers and is comfortable in Vegas. There is also a chance that the Golden Knights did not grant permission for McCrimmon to speak with Edmonton, although I have a very hard time believing that.
The most likely explanation? Vegas loves McCrimmon, and they made him an offer he could not refuse. I would not be shocked if we saw McCrimmon take on a larger role with the Golden Knights in the coming days and that they compensated him for sticking around. They really like him, and odds are they did not want him trotting up to a division rival and being a pain in their side for the next five years.
I’d be stunned if Mark Hunter wasn’t named GM of the Oilers in the coming days. He’s gained a lot of steam in the last two weeks, and there seems to be an interest from both sides in him taking over. With Ken Holland and McCrimmon out of the way, the path seems clear for Hunter.
There is also the possibility of the Oilers adding multiple front office personnel. There are rumblings that Hunter, Montreal’s Sean Burke and current interim-GM Keith Gretzky could all be hired to fill roles within the front office.
TSN1260’s Dustin Nielson had this to say this morning about the situation.
And lastly, from TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Now, we wait.
UPDATED: Kelly McCrimmon has been named GM of the Vegas Golden Knights, effective September 1st. So, there you have it. The reason McCrimmon is out of the running in Edmonton is that Vegas stepped up their offer. Not surprising.