Leipold receives permission to speak with Santos, Fenton; Nill going nowhere?

Posted on April 20th, 2009 – 4:11 PM
By Michael Russo

Just thought I’d jump on real quick. I’ll be back later this afternoon after the Doug Risebrough media gathering.

Just to let you know because I think there’s confusion judging by my email box, but I don’t expect Risebrough’s going to make some big announcement today. I talked to him on the phone this morning, and this is just a way for him to address the media at once because he’s been besieged by requests.

This is very much protocol. Take it from somebody who covered a firing a month in Florida, I’ve attended many a press conference at a restaurant, bar or hotel from a fired GM or coach.

Doug’s just taking the opportunity to say goodbye, thank the fans, talk about his time here, etc., before he leaves for his home in Palm Springs tomorrow for an extended vacation. OK, I’ll be back later.

Here is the link for the (Nashville) Tennessean’s story, as written by the esteemed John Glennon. It has quotes from GM David Poile and assistant GM Paul Fenton.

Here is the link for my story. I talked with Santos today.

Wild owner Craig Leipold is beginning the process of setting up interviews to replace GM Doug Risebrough.

The former Nashville Predators owner has received permission from Predators GM David Poile to speak with Predators Director of Hockey Operations Mike Santos and assistant GM Paul Fenton.

Leipold declined comment on them, ”just like I won’t comment on any of the other candidates.” 

There are lots of candidates that have surfaced. These are just two that so far I know he’ll be allowed to talk with. I’m sure there are others. I’m working the phones.

Santos is in his third year in Nashville and is responsible in negotiating player contracts and preparing for salary arbitrations. He served as assistant GM for the New York Islanders from 1997-2002 and director of hockey operations for the Florida Panthers from 2002-03.

He was Commissioner and President of the North American Hockey League from 2003-06. He’s worked for USA Hockey and the NHL.

Fenton is in his third year as Nashville’s assistant GM after eight as the director of player personnel. He oversees the Predators’ amateur player development and managers the team’s pro and amateur scouting staffs. He’s also GM of the AHL Milwaukee Admirals.

Fenton, who played eight years in the NHL for seven teams and was a former Boston University standout, also spent five seasons working for the Anaheim Ducks. 

It hasn’t happened yet, but another person I’d assume Leipold would request permission to speak with his Pittsburgh assistant GM Chuck Fletcher. He’s 41 with 16 years of experience. He’s immensely respected after years in Florida, Anaheim and Pittsburgh.

Remember, Leipold has a fabulous relationship with Penguins GM Ray Shero, who used to be assistant GM in Nashville.

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Also, regarding Detroit’s Jim Nill, he’s under contract through the 2010-11 season. In his contract, Nill committed to not leaving there, according to Red Wings’ reporters I’ve talked with. He’s turned down a number of jobs over the years, and when Toronto was interested in him for its recent GM vacancy, Nill was quoted in the Windsor Star, saying, “The way we do things here, I’ve already got most of the responsibilities and input that a general manager would have. Ken [Holland] and I work really well together.

I’m comfortable, I’m well-compensated and I like the organization. I know which side my bread is buttered on.”

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