The St. Louis Blues had a front office shakeup recently. According to the boss, it’s nothing to worry about immediately.
When the St. Louis Blues learned that former assistant general manager Bill Armstrong had been poached by the Arizona Coyotes to be their new GM, the immediate worry was the pending 2020 NHL Entry Draft. After all, Bill Armstrong had been in charge of the franchise’s draft for several years.
That is not to downplay anyone else’s contributions. The Blues have a wide array of scouts and front office members that had some input into decisions.
For example, Keith Tkachuk was a big reason the team drafted Scott Perunovich. Nevertheless, outside of Doug Armstrong, Bill Armstrong had the most to do with the team’s draft day.
Losing a person like that just three weeks out from the draft seems almost disastrous. Not so fast, according to Doug Armstrong.
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Armstrong expects a seemless transition because, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, all the chaos has already happened.
When sports was shut down, the NFL got big ratings with their draft. Despite plans to resume the season or get playoffs in, the NFL’s ratings grab had some in the NHL thinking of holding their draft at its original date.
This forced teams to make plans for that, just in case. So, while early playoff exits or trades might have altered some plans, the Blues still know what direction they are going to try when the draft happens in October.
“We obviously had a lot of work for the amateur draft done during the pandemic,” Armstrong said, reported by Tom Timmermann. “There was some talk of having the draft early, so our list has been done.”
As Timmermann’s article stated, the only decision the Blues had to make soon was who will make that pick. As the Armstrong that stayed around doesn’t seem to want to go on stage, the Blues picks will be made by Tony Feltrin and Scott Ginnell, two long-time scouts with the organization.
If true, this gives the Blues some breathing room as far as filling a seemingly gaping hole. Armstrong can take his time, spread out interviews and not feel rushed.
Armstrong said some of the timeline of the decision regarding amateur scouting will be based on what the pandemic dictates. If minor leagues or junior leagues will not be playing, or playing reduced schedules or just practices, that changes when or if you want to fill the job position.
If the Blues list is already done, Doug Armstrong can focus on finding quality candidates instead of quantity. He doesn’t feel the need to rush a bunch of Zoom interviews which Doug Armstrong was not looking to blast through.
Additionally, the prep work done by Bill is property of the Blues according to Timmermann’s article. Bill Armstrong will be able to make trades, but will not participate in any of the pick selections made by the Coyotes. Also, unless the Coyotes make trades, Armstrong won’t have any work to do since the desert dogs don’t have a selection to make in the first three rounds due to trades and league penalties.
So, we likely won’t know what Doug Armstrong plans to do with the job opening for awhile. He could split the job back into separate assistant GM and scouting roles, he could promote from within or find someone who can handle both sets of duties.