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Lightning Round: Mike Grier to be announced as San Jose Sharks General Manager

Grier breaks barrier as the league’s first ever Black GM

Pittsburgh Penguins vs San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 28: Mike Grier #25 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates his third-period game-winning goal during an NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 28, 2008 at HP Pavilion at San Jose in San Jose, California.
Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

On Monday, the San Jose Sharks announced that they would be making an announcement today, Tuesday. That announcement was widely believed to be that of the general manager opening that the Sharks have spent a long time looking to find. Now, after several rounds of candidates — mostly former Sharks players — the team is expected to announce Mike Grier as their next GM.

Grier, who played 14 years in the NHL for Edmonton, Washington, Buffalo, and San Jose, was known known as one of the finalists for the past few days with Ray Whitney (not that one), but reports from Pierre LeBrun, Scorchstack, and Kevin Weekes have pretty much confirmed it. The Sharks will make the announcement official at 2pm ET today.

Grier has spent his post-playing career as a scout for Chicago, followed by as the assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils, before spending last season as Hockey Ops coordinator with the New York Rangers.

Grier will be the first Black General Manager in NHL history, and the first non-white man to hold the position in over 100 years.

Brett Peterson was the first Black assistant general manager in NHL history when he was hired by the Florida Panthers in 2020. Here’s what his GM, Bill Zito, had to say about him when he was hired. [NHL dot com]

“[Peterson’s] substantive hockey experience as a player, significant developmental and evaluation skills, and business acumen as a negotiator combine to form an elite skill set that is very difficult to find in our sport,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “There are many who can excel in one of those disciplines, but few who excel in all three.”

The NHL currently has three coaches of color behind the bench: our own Frantz Jean (goalie coach, TBL), Sudarshan Maharaj (goalie coach, ANA), and Manny Malhotra (assistant coach, TOR). Two video coaches of color: Tim Ohashi (SEA), Sam Kim (TOR). Washington also hired the league’s first woman coach last month, Emily Engel-Natzke (video coach).

It is heartwarming to see these opportunities being given to talented and smart people who have always existed in our sport. It’s about time.

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers
NEW YORK - MARCH 7: Patrick Kaleta #36 and Michael Grier #25 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate the win against the New York Rangers on March 7, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Sabres defeat the Rangers 2-1 in overtime.
Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

In Lightning news, Mikhail Sergachev has changed agents to Dan Milstein. Sergachev, along with Erik Cernak and Anthony Cirelli will be the key RFAs for the Lightning to sign next summer. JBB has been consistent in his statements that the team is prioritizing being responsible for 2024’s salary cap because of the significant boost those three players will collectively make. Extensions for that season can start being signed on the first day of free agency, July 13th.

The NHL Draft is this Thursday and Friday. Be sure to check in with our draft coverage over those two days as well as before and after. The Bolts have seven picks this year, including their first round pick. Will they trade it or use it? We will just have to wait and see.

Here is our first profile, on defenseman Owen Pickering. We have chosen three more prospects to focus on as potential targets with the team’s first round pick. [Raw Charge]

“Let’s get this out of the way right now. If Owen Pickering was a right-handed shot, he would probably be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. Heck, he might still be. After all, in today’s NHL wouldn’t any GM want a potential first-pair defenseman who can skate and win board battles? That’s the dream!”