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Another piece of the puzzle

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
CALGARY, AB -- Never let it be said that John Weisbrod doesn't like a challenge.

Best known for essentially dismantling the ruins that was the Orlando Magic early in the 00's, Weisbrod took a team that was collapsing from all angles and cut loose the vast majority of the team, aiming for a fresh start. Thanks in part to the former hockey player's redesign, the Magic went all the way to the NBA Finals in the 2008-09 season.

He left the NBA in 2005 to return to his hockey roots, taking a job with the Dallas Stars as a scout. Weisbrod stayed with the organization for a year before taking a scouting job with the Boston Bruins.

Now he's leaving the Bruins to help shape the Calgary Flames into a Stanley Cup contender. General manager Jay Feaster announced on Monday that Weisbrod has been named the new assistant general manager/player personnel.

"I really enjoy the challenge of it," he replied when asked why he wanted to work with the Flames. "That's why you're in this business or get involved in sports management, you like to compete. The fact that Calgary is in a state of transition and trying to move in a new direction is exciting to me.

"I think very highly of Jay and I felt very comfortable after I met with him that he was the kind of guy that I would want to work with and work for. I believed in the things he was talking about doing and the things that the organization is trying to accomplish. Any time you can be part of building something like that and moving yourself towards success, that's a great challenge. I consider it a great opportunity."

Feaster made contact with Weisbrod last month, during the first round the Stanley Cup playoffs, and while talks were limited during the NHL postseason thanks to Weisbrod's involvement with the Bruins, he did speak with the club the day after the Bruins won the Cup.

"Talks really began then and he (Feaster) extended an offer, a final offer, just last week leading up to the draft."

Weisbrod won't physically be in Calgary for another couple of weeks but he will be very involved in any potential trades or signings after free agency opens on July 1.

"Jay and I are going to spend quite a bit of time on the phone in the immediate future," he chuckled. "I've got a transition to make in moving out there and getting all those things organized.

"However, my involvement in the discussions and strategies will begin immediately."

His tenure with the Magic shows that Weisbrod isn't scared of sweeping change within a team but he doesn't believe the Flames need to do anything drastic.

Instead, he wants to focus on small shifts.

"More than any dramatic thoughts on change, based on particular players or particular spots on a team, the way you get better is by accumulating good habits and good decisions one at a time. Obviously there's some challenges now in Calgary based on the salary cap situation and it takes away some of the flexibility you have if you're starting from scratch and building a team.

"It's a matter of really grinding on the evaluation of the players you have and what roles they can play and then just making sure as you move forward, every piece that adds to the puzzle is the type of guy that you want the Calgary Flames to embody."
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