According to the Dispatch tonight, the Jackets have narrowed the GM field to four. Jim Clark, Don Boyd, Neil Smith, and Bob Murray.
Clark and Boyd are already on the staff, so I'm not so hip to them getting a promotion. Though, without Doug lording over them I'm sure they have ideas of their own that could be worthwhile. However, I'm not all that anxious to go down the rookie GM route again, and both these guys would be rookies in the truest sense of the word, with a good bit of their recent experience watching another rookie GM try (and fail) at building an NHL team from scratch. And, as mentioned in the paper, Boyd is our amateur draft expert...not liking that as the biggest feather in his cap. (I know hindsight is 20/20, but raise your hand if you'd like to have Thomas Vanek, Milan Michalek, or Ryan Suter in a Jackets uni. Those were the next three picks after Zherdev.)
Neil Smith intrigues me. This is the guy that build the '94 Cup team in New York, and was the guy that held the GM position for 3 hours on The Island this past summer before Garth Snow took over. Smith ran into some issues with the Rangers when he ran out of prospects and started buying up all the talent he could, which lead to his demise in 2000. In cap-ville, that landscape has changed. So, for all intents and purposes, Neil has yet to GM a team since the Jackets have been in the league.
Bob Murray seems to be the shooting star of the moment. He's currently hitched to the Ducks playoff run as VP of Hockey Operations where he oversees all aspects of player development...given the age of the Jackets roster, player development is in dire need here. He did have a short stint in Chicago as GM. And, let's be honest, what's a GM in Chicago really do except try to retain guys with the belly button lint and pesos he's given by Wirtz.
In all honesty, I think we're down to Murray and Smith, either of which would be a step in the right direction for this franchise. Personally, I'd like to see us get Murray. Then again, I wanted Andy Murray as coach back in November, so maybe I just want somebody named Murray involved. Is Anne Murray available to sing the anthem(s) next year?