Friday, May 9, 2014

The Caps Search for A New GM: This Isn't Moneyball

So, the Washington Capitals are looking for a new General Manager. Good for them! The list of available people is deep in experience and name recognition. But do you really want to go in either of those directions? After all, it's not like the experienced guy got bored by easy success and went looking for a challenge, or the the well-known guy has any management experience other than assembling essentially an All-Star team for a three week tournament (unless you count not making the playoffs in 4 seasons as a coach). Can we think outside of the box here?

Would it be so bad to follow in the footsteps of the early 2000's Boston Red Sox and find a young, talented individual, maybe even on without a lot of inside hockey experience, and give him or her the people and tools needed to build a successful team? The Theo Epstein of hockey.

The guy can't do this alone. He'll need a good scouting department, A HOCKEY ANALYTICS DEPARTMENT (does that sound like yelling, because it is), and a coaching staff that can work with the players and philosophies of the team. But everyone has to be on-board with the plan and the reasons for it.  We're just looking at finding the best people and the best system and allowing them to succeed.

We're not looking to do what Billy Bean did with analytics in Moneyball here; there is money to be spent on good players. The Caps aren't trying to put a cheap team on the ice, they're looking at how to add to (or subtract from) the current team to allow every line and every defensive pairing to play well together. It might mean spending near the cap. The best players for the team, not necessarily the best value in the market. BUt you still need new ideas to find those players.

I won't even conjecture about whether such a person exists. The NHL is rife with "hockey people" who have been in and around the league for decades. What we need is new blood and new ideas. The hard part is going to be finding that person.

Good luck Ted!

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