John Ferguson, Jr.
John Ferguson former vice president and general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs is now almost five years removed from the team. Ferguson Jr. was GM of the Maple Leafs from 2003-2008. If you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, looking that far back through the Cliff Fletcher years is probably a murky one. Filled with strange Toronto Maple Leafs acquisitions and draft picks that went bust. The legacy in Toronto that surrounds John Ferguson, Jr is a poor one in the fans perspective. With five years between his exit and current status as Director of Pro Scouting for the San Jose Sharks his name doesn’t get floated around often for open General Manager jobs in the NHL. The last rumour de jour was his name got thrown into the hat for the GM job in Columbus back in 2012. The rumour however was one from Ottawa Sun Friend of the Ottawa Senators and sometimes serious hack Bruce Garrioch. His rumours are like a pound of chicken wings in his presence - they disappear and end up on toilet paper within the hour.
San Jose Sharks front Office
The front office headed by General Manager Doug Wilson is a sleek-looking team with many former NHL players – Mike Ricci, Tim Burke, Bryan Marchment and Larry Robinson assisting behind the bench to name a few. Tim Burke serves as the director of scouting for the San Jose Sharks. In this role, he co-ordinates and oversees the Sharks efforts in the NHL Entry Draft. Burke is also responsible for evaluating amateur talent at every level in all North American and European leagues and supervises all aspects of the club’s amateur scouting efforts. His right hand man in managing this epicenter of great draft picking and stocking the cupboards is John Ferguson Jr. himself.
Lots of Sharks in the Tank
Since the 2003 NHL Draft, no NHL team has produced more games played among their drafted players than the Sharks (3,123). San Jose is tied for first in the NHL for average number of homegrown players on the team’s roster each season since the 2005-06. This has made the team an envy to many in the NHL that look at entry-level draft as a building block to a Stanley Cup. When I look at the depth this team has built through the draft when it remains a team that competes in the NHL playoffs year in and year out. Just look at their Divisional Championship record over the years ;
6 Divisional Championships – (2001–02, 2003–04, 2007–08,2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11)
During these great playoff runs they still manage to stockpile the picks and players that can fit into the roles they need at the NHL level.
Thomas Hertl the Dangle, the Points and the Pick
This young kid from Slavia Praha HC in the Czech Republic has been the center of the NHL media universe this week. No need to dedicate a paragraph to the circus that surrounds Thomas Hertl at the moment. At the end of the day – look at his numbers in the first four games as a rookie - 6 goals and an assist. If you are a fan of hockey in general you want this kid on your team. If your team has a front office putting these gems together and on the ice to produce, you are one happy hockey fan.
As an observer of this team from a distance, I can safely say that one day the San Jose Sharks will break the Cinderella late to the ball curse they have and covet a chance to dance with Lord Stanley. Year in and year out I lay the mortgage payment on the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup and this year San Jose is out of the gate looking strong again. One day John Ferguson Jr. may do what all Toronto Maple Leafs fans wanted in the Big Smoke and that is be part of a winning front office. He has inherited a winning formula from Tim Burke and may ride his coat tails to a Stanley Cup win. That is if Ferguson doesn’t get scooped up to become a General Manager somewhere else.
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