Craig Conroy wasn’t shy when it came to sharing his goals as the Calgary Flames’ new general manager.
Speaking at his introductory press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Conroy shared championship aspirations.
“I’m ready to accept this next challenge, and promise to our fans I’m going to do everything I can to bring another Stanley Cup here,” Conroy told reporters.
“I have a passion for this team. I have a passion for this city.”
The 51-year-old, who first got into management with the Flames in 2011 as a special assistant to then-GM Jay Feaster, said it has long been his goal to become a GM at the NHL level.
“When I took the job, my goal was to become a general manager, and I thought that was always the goal,” Conroy said. “I always thought it wasn’t going to be Calgary, but now that it is Calgary, I know Calgary was the dream job for me. Looking back, I didn’t think it would be here, but this is the dream job for me.”
While Conroy was adamant that his goal is to lead this team to a Stanley Cup, he acknowledged he has plenty to do in the coming days and weeks.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, there really is,” Conroy said. “We just started out amateur meetings and getting ready for the draft, so I guess that’s at the top. Next thing would be the coach search, we’re going to get started with that.”
It is unknown how many are in the running for the head coaching position, but Conroy explained he wants someone that he can work with.
“We need to work together, we need to be a team,” Conroy said. “We’re not head coach and management, we’re a team. We’re in this together, we’re not going to be at odds. We’re not going to be lockstep all the time, either, but we’re going to have the same vision and passion for this team.”
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Conroy also acknowledged the fact that this team has seven players, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, and Oliver Kylington, entering the final year of their contracts. While he didn’t divulge what his plans may be, he admitted that some decisions will have to be made before the season begins.
“I think the biggest thing of the general manager is asset management,” Conroy said. “We have seven unrestricted free agents. I kind of feel like I know where those guys are at, but that was as assistant GM. This will be different conversations, so I do think I want to get where they’re at. Obviously we can’t go into a season with seven UFAs, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Before getting into management, Conroy enjoyed a 1009 NHL game career, 507 of which were spent with the Flames. While he admitted he wasn’t exactly thrilled when he had first gotten traded to the organization from the St. Louis Blues back in 2001, his mood quickly changed.
“As soon as I got here, I bet you the first week, just meeting people, going around the city, coming to the rink, being with the guys… It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the city, and I was hoping they were going to do the same.”
While it remains to be seen what Conroy plans to do with this team, he did say on plenty of occasions throughout the press conference that he wants to get youth into his lineup next season. It appears that when the 2023-24 season begins, this Flames’ roster will have a number of new faces on it.