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Pat Verbeek to join Yzerman in Detroit, Stacy Roest and Al Murray to remain with Tampa

Thank the maker!

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant General Manager Pat Verbeek is set to join Steve Yzerman with the Detroit Red Wings. The good GREAT news in Bob’s report is that Al Murray, Stacy Roest, and Jamie Pushor will be remaining with the Lightning front office. Al Murray is the Director of Amateur Scouting, Roest is the Director of Player Development, and Pushor is the Director of Professional Scouting.

Murray, Roest, and Pushor are three of the lead players in the Lightning front office. Each one leads a different branch of player scouting and development. While losing Verbeek hurts, it’s not as big of a blow as losing any, or all, of these three.

Al Murray joined the Lightning as Director of Amateur Scouting in 2010 after Steve Yzerman took over as general manage. Murray started his career in hockey as an Assistant and then Head Coach in Canada at the Junior B and College levels. After five years of coaching, he moved into scouting with the Los Angeles Kings in 1988-89. He was their Western Scouting Coordinator for six seasons before becoming their Director of Amateur Scouting in 1994-95. He remained in that position through the 2006-07 season before being released.

Under Murray, the Kings had a lot of success in the draft. Their success came all over the draft from the first round down to the later rounds. Here are some highlights of the picks the Kings made during Murray’s time there.

  • 1996, 4th round - F Eric Belanger, 820 GP, 358 P
  • 1997, 1st round - F Olli Jokinen, 1231 GP, 750 P
  • 1997, 4th round - D Joe Corvo, 708 GP, 310 P
  • 1999, 3rd round - D Frantisek Kaberle, 523 GP, 193 P
  • 1999, 8th round - George Parros, 474 GP, 36P
  • 2000, 2nd round - D Andreas Lilja, 580 GP, 87 P
  • 2000, 4th round - D Lubomir Visnovsky, 883 GP, 495 P
  • 2001, 2nd round - F Michael Cammalleri, 906 GP, 642 P
  • 2001, 7th round - G Cristobal Huet, 272 GP
  • 2003, 1st round - F Dustin Brown, 1,117 GP, 618 P
  • 2003, 1st round - F Brian Boyle, 766 GP, 216 P
  • 2005, 1st round - F Anze Kopitar, 1,003 GP, 888 P
  • 2005, 3rd round - G Jonathan Quick, 602 GP

After being released by the Kings, Murray spent three seasons as the Head Scout for Hockey Canada focusing on U18 and U20. This is where Steve Yzerman first worked with Murray and developed a relationship together. When Yzerman was hired by the Lightning, he was able to bring Murray into the fold. They both shared a vision of drafting players that fit their ideals of hockey IQ, work ethic, and skill. Where a player came from or played hockey didn’t matter. Jeff Vinik gave them the staff and resources to work that vision, eventually leading to the Lightning drafting Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Brayden Point among other promising prospects.

Stacy Roest joined the Lightning organization in 2013-14 as Director of Player Development and an Assistant Coach with the Syracuse Crunch. During his playing career, Roest was a farm hand for the Detroit Red Wings eventually playing four full seasons in the NHL, two with the Detroit Red Wings during Yzerman’s career. Roest spent nine years playing in Switzerland before retiring.

Roest has been instrumental in helping players to develop after being drafted by the Lightning. When we’ve seen players come up through the minors the past six seasons, Roest has had a hand in making sure those players were prepared for the NHL and getting them there in the first place.

Jamie Pushor began his scouting career in 2010-11 with the Atlanta Thrashers as a Pro Scout. He moved over to the Lightning’s scouting staff the following season. He was promoted to Director of Professional Scouting for the 2018-19 season. Pushor oversees the professional scouts as they scout NHL games for free agency and advanced scouting for upcoming opponents. Pushor also had a connection with Yzerman as he was drafted by the Red Wings and was a member of the 1996-97 team that won the Stanley Cup.

Pat Verbeek has spent nine seasons with the Lightning and the past eight as Assistant General Manager. He was hired in 2010 as Director of Professional scouting before moving up and also being Director of Player Personnel. Prior to joining the Lightning, Verbeek was a Pro Scout for the Detroit Red Wings during Yzerman’s apprenticeship in their front office. They also played two seasons together with the Red Wings towards the end of Verbeek’s playing career. Verbeek’s name has been coming up as a potential General Manager candidate. It seemed like it wouldn’t be long before he left anyways.

With Verbeek leaving, it gives Julien BriseBois an opportunity to bring in an assistant general manager of his own choosing for player personnel. I have to believe that Pushor would be an internal candidate for that position and that promotion could have been part of what kept him from leaving the team. The Lightning also have another assistant general manager position that was not filled when BriseBois was promoted, though it was nominally filled by Yzerman during his year as a special assistant. This second assistant general manager would likely be more focused on the Syracuse Crunch, scouting, and player development.

UPDATE: Via Joe Smith and Bob McKenzie, it looks like all three will get Assistant General Manager titles. Their areas of responsibilities will remain the same, but they’ll have the added prestige (and money) of their new titles. Roest will also be the General Manager of the Syracuse Crunch.

Additionally, Bob McKenzie reported that Mathieu Darche is expected to join the front office. This will be Darche’s first front office position. The team announced that his official title will be Director of Hockey Operations.

Darche went undrafted as a player and played four seasons of Canadian college hockey at McGill University. Upon graduation, he was signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets and spent three years in their organization, mostly playing with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

He also spent the 2007-08 season with the Lightning scoring 22 points in 73 games. He finished his career playing three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. The first of those years was Julien BriseBois’ last year with the Canadiens. Darche retired after he was unable to find an NHL job coming out of the 2012-13 NHL lockout. Darche played 250 career NHL games and also played 552 games in the AHL.

It is unclear what role Darche will have with the front office. However, according to an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Darche has run a high school hockey program for his sons’ school and is also the president of the Ligue de Hockey Preparatoire Scolaire. This was while serving as vice president of sales and marketing for Delmar International, a global freight-forwarding and customs brokerage company. He has also done commentary for RDS covering the Canadiens and is on the board of directors for Ronald McDonald House of Montreal.