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Blackhawks president search: 5 former Chicago players as candidates

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Three former Chicago defenseman are current NHL general managers.

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Blackhawks will begin their search for a new president after releasing John McDonough from the role Monday.

McDonough, who spent 24 years with the Cubs and did not have front-office experience in hockey, handled business operations for the Blackhawks. Will Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz keep the new president exclusively on the business side, over both business and hockey operations or solely on the hockey side?

Here are five former Blackhawks players as candidates Wirtz could look to.

Marc Bergevin

Bergevin, who turns 55 in August, is in his eighth year as general manager and executive vice president for the Canadiens. Prior to his time in Montreal, he spent seven seasons (2005-12) with the Blackhawks: scout (2005-07), director of professional scouting (2007-08), assistant coach (2008-09), director of player personnel (2009-11) and assistant GM (2011-12).

The Canadiens have made four playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, under Bergevin. Montreal, however, has missed the playoffs the past two seasons and three of the past four. Bergevin, who has made a few trades with Chicago in recent years, was seen throughout the season in Chicago or Rockford.

Bergevin, a defenseman, played four seasons (1984-88) with the Blackhawks during his 20-year career.

Chris Chelios

Chelios, 59, rejoined the Blackhawks as an ambassador in July 2018 to return to Chicago to be closer to his family. He spent the previous eight years as an adviser to hockey operations with the Red Wings, working with the team’s defense prospects in the AHL much like Brian Campbell does for the Blackhawks. Chelios also was an NHL analyst for Fox Sports 1 for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Chelios, a defenseman, played 10 seasons (1990-99) for the Blackhawks after a trade with Montreal (1983-90) for Denis Savard. Chelios was later traded to Detroit (1999-09), where he finished his playing career in 2010.

Bob Murray

Murray, 65, is in his 12th season as executive VP and GM of the Ducks after three-plus seasons as the team’s senior VP of hockey operations. He was a director of player personnel (1991-95), assistant GM (1995-97), GM for the Blackhawks (1997-99) then joined the Canucks as a professional scout (1999-05) before being Anaheim’s AHL GM (2005-08).

Murray won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Ducks as senior VP of hockey operations and was named the 2013-14 GM of the Year. Anaheim has made eight playoff appearances, including two Western Conference Final showings, with Murray as GM. He hasn’t had a top-five pick during his tenure. Anaheim has selected 58 players since 2010, with a league-leading 51.7 percent (30 players, tied with Boston) making it to the NHL (the league average is 38.0 percent), according to the Ducks.

Murray, a defenseman, played his entire 15-year career (1975-90) with Chicago after being drafted in the third round in 1974.

Eddie Olczyk

Olczyk, who turns 54 in August, is the lead TV analyst for the Blackhawks and NBC. He’s been in television ever since he was fired as Pittsburgh head coach after less than two seasons with a 31-64-14 record from 2003-05. His TV career has provided him the opportunity to gain connections around the League, which has led to some interest in hockey-ops roles in the past.

Olczyk, a forward, was drafted third overall in 1984 by his hometown Blackhawks, and played six seasons with Chicago (1984-87, 1998-2000) during his 16-year career. His younger brother, Rick is the assistant GM for the yet-to-be named Seattle franchise.

Doug Wilson

Wilson, who turns 63 in July, is in his 17th year as general manager of the Sharks. San Jose has made 16 playoff appearances, including a run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final and five showings in the Western Conference Final.

Wilson would also likely want to bring his son Doug Jr., the Sharks director of scouting, to Chicago. The father-son duo have worked together for the past seven years in San Jose. The younger Wilson — who played junior hockey for the Chicago Steel and Lincoln Stars, as well as at Division 3 Tufts University (2006-10) and professionally in Sweden and Australia — also was the director of hockey ops (2016-18) and scouting analyst (2012-16).

The older Wilson, a defenseman, was drafted sixth overall by Chicago in 1977 and played 14 seasons (1977-91), highlighted by seven All-Star appearances and winning the 1982 Norris Trophy. He was traded to San Jose in 1991 and played the final two seasons of his career with the Sharks.

Poll

Which former Blackhawks player do you think is the most qualified for the president role?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Marc Bergevin, Montreal VP/GM and former Chicago scout, assistant coach and asst. GM
    (73 votes)
  • 9%
    Chris Chelios, ambassador and former Detroit advisor of hockey operations
    (48 votes)
  • 11%
    Bob Murray, Anaheim VP/GM and former Chicago director of player personnel, asst. GM, GM
    (55 votes)
  • 36%
    Eddie Olczyk, TV commentator and former Pittsburgh coach
    (179 votes)
  • 28%
    Doug Wilson, Sharks GM
    (139 votes)
494 votes total Vote Now