The Hawks entered this summer safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't have to lose players they wanted to keep, as they did last one. However, there was a fear that a couple members of the staff would be heading to promotions elsewhere.
Assistant coach Mike Haviland, with whom everyone loves and wants to have a beer, was a leading contender for the Florida Panthers head coach position. It made sense, because Dale Tallon was the GM there and would be pretty familiar with from their days together here. But that job went to Kevin Dineen, and Havvy hasn't been mentioned for the spots still open in New Jersey, Minnesota, or Dallas. He won't get the New Jersey job, they only hire family (how perfect is that for Jersey?). So the assistant everyone loves will probably be staying for at least another year.
The Hawks might not get so lucky with their assistant GM though, in Kevin Cheveldayoff. A story from the Winnipeg Free Press says he's the front-runner to take over their GM post. The Thrash do have a GM at the moment, Rick Dudley, who just happened to come over from the Hawks.
It's no coincidence then that the Thrashers poached every available Blackhawk they could get their stubby paws on. Or talons. Or whatever.
However, with Atlanta's simply pathetic record, one wouldn't be shocked if the True North Group -- the ones bringing the Thrashers to Winnipeg to become...well, whatever it is they're going to become, wanted a clean break from everything Atlanta.
Cheveldayoff comes with quite the pedigree. Before coming to the Hawks as assistant GM in 2009, he had been the GM of the Chicago Wolves for 12 years. He only managed to win four championships there. While some of those were when the Wolves were an AHL affiliate, and thus he didn't bring in all the talent, he did bring in enough to get those teams over the hump.
Hawks fans that remained unconvinced of Stan Bowman's talents will not like this news. Because of the lofty goals Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough set, Bowman's leash isn't all that long. They crave success. If Bowman floundered again (if you think he did this year, and it's my opinion me mostly did), the Hawks had a ready-made replacement with far more experience and qualifications to take over than Bowman did when he got the post. But that's looking like a remote possibility now.