Last season, Seattle Sailors GM Jay McKay shot the moon at the trading deadline, moving several prized prospects to acquire C Lars Karlsson and D Hans Mortensen in a long-shot bid for a playoff spot. When Seattle wound up missing the postseason by 22 points, McKay wound up losing his job.
This week, the Sailors tapped Hamilton Pistols assistant GM Taylor Teichman as McKay’s replacement. Teichman had been chiefly responsible for the Pistols’ drafts and minor-league development, and was widely regarded as the chief architect of the up-and-coming Hamilton team that made its first trip to the playoffs season.
“We identified Taylor as our #1 pick early on, and we didn’t stop until we got him,” said Sailors owner Gary Blum. “We couldn’t be happier to have him on board to help us shape the future of our club.”
The hiring of Teichman seems to signal a shift in Seattle’s team-building strategy. As mentioned above, McKay favored big-money acquisitions and major trades. Given Teichman’s record in Hamilton, it seems likely that the Sailors will now look to cultivate homegrown talent. This strategy may be complicated by the fact that Seattle has no picks in the upcoming draft and has shipped out several of its top prospects in recent deals.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Teichman told reporters. “When I was considering this opportunity, I saw an organization with a strong base of talent, a great owner in Gary Blum, a strong coach in Harry Engellund. This team is a lot like the Pistols from a season or two ago; we just need a few tweaks here and there to take it to the next level.”
It’s rumored Seattle’s courtship of Teichman wasn’t without controversy. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Hamilton initially denied the Sailors permission to speak with their assistant GM about the position. Teichman then threatened to resign his job with the Pistols if he wasn’t either promoted to GM with the Pistols or allowed to interview for the Sailors position. According to the same sources, SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell ultimately had to intervene and clarify that Hamilton couldn’t prevent Teichman from interviewing unless it was stated in his contract.
Teichman declined to comment on the behind-the-scenes drama around his hiring. “I had a great time in Hamilton, and I appreciate everyone there. But my focus is on the future.”
The Pistols issued a brief statement that read: “We thank Taylor Teichman for his four seasons of service to the organization and his help in building a contending team for many seasons to come. We wish him the best of luck as he takes on his new challenge with the Sailors.”
Teichman said that his top priorities would be to resolve the open questions at center (Karlsson is a free agent) and in net (Rocky Goldmire and “Jersey Mike” Ross are both signed through next season, but prospect Sonny Kashiuk looks ready for the majors). Beyond that, he said he would look for “opportunities to replenish our minor league club and build through the draft.”