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Jeff Twohey out as Oshawa Generals GM, becomes intriguing OHL free agent

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Twohey hired OHL coach of the year D.J. Smith in Oshawa (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

Call it a hat trick for Oshawa Generals president Rocco Tullio — three coaches or GMs out the door in as many seasons with Monday's departure of Jeff Twohey, one of the longest-tenured personnel men in the Ontario Hockey League.

At the start of the season, the Generals were not "sure what direction we were going in," in coach D.J. Smith's recent phrasing. (That wasn't revisionist; pretty much everyone thought that was how it would go if the Philadelphia Flyers opted to keep centre Scott Laughton.) Instead, Laughton's return prompted it to press ahead and be a buyer. Oshawa, as you know, got swept in the Eastern Conference final by the North Bay Battalion. That led to Twohey, whose exit is being termed a resignation, becoming a free agent at a very intriguing time.

That might be a better route to take this story. The OHL has at least one general vacancy with the Plymouth Whalers bidding Mike Vellucci adieu after his move up to the big time with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.

The Kitchener Rangers, coming off a rare early spring, are also in an interesting scenario. The flagship franchise stayed in-house last spring when Steve Spott left to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate and promoted Murray Hiebert from head scout to GM. Kitchener went on to struggle this season with just 17 non-shootout wins and only 195 goals scored over 68 games while finishing ninth in the Western Conference. First-rounder Mike Davies also played sparingly (five goals, three assists over 60 games). Normally a team coming off an out-of-playoffs year likes to have a young beacon who represents hope, like the way the Ottawa 67's do with Travis Konecny.

In short, that's a situation worth monitoring. A hockey man who has spent 19 of the past 21 seasons as an OHL general manager does not become available too often. Twohey, who had a two-year stint as a Phoenix Coyotes amateur scout, has a track record that radiates success and a desire to work at the major junior level.

Ontario Hockey League teams can officially make trades from June 1-30. Any team that wants to make a change will jump on it sooner rather than later.

On the Generals end of it, this does read like there was a conflict between Tullio and Twohey. The former has been known to go public with his opinions about decisions made by the Generals' hockey staff, as is his prerogative. It is plausible the two could not see eye to eye.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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