By: Mark Allred Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Last week over the United States Thanksgiving holiday, the National Hockey League Montreal Canadiens relived Marc Bergevin of his General Manager duties after close to a decade with the historic club. As the Canadiens search for the new general manager who will now work under team President Jeff Gorton who was officially hired today by Canadiens principal owner Geoff Molson.
On today’s The Jeff Marek Show with host Jeff Marek had hockey insider and fellow host of the 32 Thoughts Hockey Podcast Elliotte Friedman on the program today. In this particular episode below, the duo mentioned a few candidates that Montreal could be very interested in. Friedman said there could be heavy interest in the services of ECHL Maine Mariners General Manager Daniel Briere. The 44-year-old Briere who’s NHL playing career ended in 2015, has since been the overseer of operations with the Maine franchise since the 2017 season after spending two seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Listen to the full The Marek Show episode below and subscribe!
Daniel was the perfect choice for the Flyers to appoint him to be the new ECHL Mariners team which was part of the minor-pro affiliation of the Pennsylvania team. Before the 2018-19 regular season and the return of hockey to the Portland, Maine area, the New York Rangers would acquire the ECHL club from the Flyers. The affiliation with the Rangers would last until this past offseason when the Mariners officially came to an agreement with the Boston Bruins, bringing an affiliation closer and feeder system to the American Hockey League Providence Bruins.
So far this season and first as an NHL Bruins affiliate the Maine Mariners, the ECHL club sits in the third position of the North Division with a 6-6-2-0 record and 14 points. In second place in the division, the Reading Royals are three points ahead of Maine while division-leading Newfoundland Growlers have a 13-2-0-0 record and an ECHL league-leading 26 points in 15 games played.
Marek and Friedman touch on an interesting fact that new Canadiens team President Gorton has worked with Daniel Briere in the past when he was a GM of the Mariners as a New York ECHL affiliate GM. Gorton might’ve been close enough to Briere in the past to know first hand this guy is destined for an NHL job. The ECHL and AHL are North American Pro Leagues that are not only farm teams for players to develop, but these leagues are also a great source of talent, whether it’s a search for a new head coach or general manager.
If Briere is chosen as a french speaking GM of the Montreal Canadiens, it’s because he’s earned it and the respect of rising to the highest level of hockey in the world to prove those attributes. What it will do, unfortunately, is remove a key member of the everyday Mariners operations. While there are many good hockey people looking to rise in this game as Daniel could be in the upcoming days to weeks, I’m sure the ECHL and Boston Bruins will be in good hands if and when they have to do a GM search because this isn’t the first time Briere has been considered for NHL work.
In the above The Marek show, Frieman mentioned that there was heavy consideration for him in the desert with the Arizona Coyotes before former AHL Providence Bruins GM John Ferguson Jr. took the job to work with Bill Armstrong, a former AHL Providence Bruins alumni. With Briere a heavy commodity for NHL teams looking for a new start, I wonder if this will be the timeframe for the NHL Bruins to influence one of their own to man the reigns of the ECHL Mariners. Evan Gold took over for the departed Ferguson when he left for Arizona and looks to be someone who could be here for a few seasons.
If the Maine Mariners ownership are willing to work with the NHL Bruins in their potential general manager search, I believe current Bruins Director of Player Development & Player Personnel Advisor Jamie Langenbrunner would be a fantastic choice and start his path to an AHL or NHL GM job in the future.