In his early 20s, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois worked as a lawyer with the Canadian law firm Heenan Blaikie, where he spent a lot of his time handling player arbitration cases with NHL teams. During breaks for lunch or dinner, BriseBois took advantage of the incredible access his job provided him to general managers such as Brian Burke, Ray Shero, Bob Gainey, Glen Sather and others, scouring some of the top hockey minds for tips and expertise on what it would take to one day sit among the 30 NHL general managers.
It was during one of those sessions that he received some of the best advice an aspiring manager can get.
"Ray Shero told me, 'If you want to help the GM when you're the assistant GM, come up with ideas,'" BriseBois said. "David Poile had told him that a few years back."The reasoning is simple.
"When you're the GM, you're on the spot all the time. Your nose is close to the glass," BriseBois said. "You need someone to help you with the thinking."
This season has been full of coaching changes. Some of them have worked; some haven't. The next logical step for franchises will be a front office regime change after the season. Owners in Montreal, Long Island, Columbus and elsewhere may have decisions to make if the faith in their general managers starts to erode.
There's no shortage of qualified replacements. Experienced managers such as Craig Patrick and Craig Button are safe options, but there could be a big payoff for owners who don't mind taking a little bit of a risk and hiring an assistant GM who has never been a full-time general manager. Here are five great options for owners ready to promote a talented assistant:
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