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The Future's a Fit for Ferguson

New Assistant GM will also oversee the Roadrunners

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

John Ferguson was introduced Thursday as Coyotes Assistant General Manager and Tucson Roadrunners General Manager.

Ferguson's role will largely focus on developing the club's prospects. The goal is to build a strong, winning American Hockey League team and provide guidance and advice to the Coyotes on free-agents, trades and the salary cap.

"I'm very intrigued by the future of the franchise," said Ferguson, who was General Manager of the AHL Providence Bruins the previous five years. "There's a clear plan in place. I'm happy to jump aboard, grab an oar and deliver some expertise and experience and learn and grow. There's a clear plan for the future here. I couldn't be more pleased to join the group."

Ferguson's AHL Bruins racked up 179 wins during his tenure and qualified for the playoffs each of the five seasons. Meanwhile, the NHL Boston Bruins, for whom Ferguson served as Executive Director of Player Personnel, qualified for the playoffs five consecutive seasons, also, including a trip to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. 

Coincidentally, Ferguson's Bruins lost that Stanley Cup Final in seven games to Armstrong's St. Louis Blues.

"We're excited about John joining," Armstrong said. "Not just for his track record of putting together good American League teams, but also developing players for the NHL. He has tremendous knowledge over (his) last 20 years of managing. We've added another great hockey mind to our staff." 

Ferguson's resume shows him to be a jack of all trades. 

"We've added John because of his expertise," Armstrong said. "He can cover a lot of ground for us, helping develop our prospects in the American League and managing coaches, but also helping us sign college free agents and giving advice on trades and salary cap maneuver. He helps us make that one more step going forward."

Prior to his managerial role with AHL Bruins and Executive role with the NHL Bruins, Ferguson served six seasons as the Director of Pro Scouting for the San Jose Sharks (2008-14); four-plus seasons as Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs (2003-08) and six seasons as Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations with the St. Louis Blues (1997-2003).

Armstrong says Ferguson's track record is laced with stability and success.

"Look at the success he's had along the way, (especially) his stops in San Jose and Boston," Armstrong said. "We always talk about being that team that constantly makes the playoffs. We want to produce an organization that has expectations to make the playoffs every year. That's one of the key things I looked at here. John has been with some very stable organizations, and he helped them become better. I envision us being that same type of franchise moving forward."

As to Ferguson's AHL success in Providence, he maintains a firm understanding that while the league is meant to develop players for the NHL level, winning is a critical piece. 

"I have always believed that winning and player development are not mutually exclusive," Ferguson said. "In fact, one begets the other. It's clear, first and foremost, in a nutshell, (the AHL) is for developing players in a competitive environment. And we live that day in and day out. That being said, we're in the pros. You play to win. You need to learn to win. These (AHL) players need to learn how to be a part of a winning team. That's going to put them in good stead to move up (to the NHL). Hopefully, when they move up, they're ready to stay."

Ferguson added: "I've been very impressed with all of my interactions with Bill (Armstrong), with Xavier Gutierrez, the ownership group. As a competitor, objectively, what's gone on here previously has not worked. Now, that can be a little bit harsh, but you are what your record says you are. There are a lot of areas that Bill has addressed. I'm here to help. We have a bright future here."

Photos Credit: Norm Hall

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