He is the same name and same age, which presumably makes for an easy switch.
It is all but official that 28-year-old Kyle Raftis will be the new general manager of the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, replacing 28-year-old Kyle Dubas. Whether that means the 'Hounds, who won their division for the first time in six years in 2013-14 before Dubas moved on to those analytics-embracin' Toronto Maple Leafs, will be as big on numbers remains to be seen. More to the point, though, Raftis' previous experience as the OHL's director of recruiting, education service and player development is probably more pertinent.
The one dichotomy that exists in the OHL, perhaps more so in the other two leagues, is that it's biggest feeder of players exists in Southern Ontario, where the league has a negligible presence. That has tended to put a stigma on the farther-flung teams like the Greyhounds. For all the acclaim Dubas received from NHL scribes for analytics, convincing the Soo's hockey solons to improve the franchise's support system for players was another crucial crowning achievement. Dubas also put good people in place such as coach Sheldon Keefe,
director of player development Wes Clark and director of player personnel Vic Carneiro, all of whom Raftis will presumably inherit. Point being, hiring another young GM with an affinity for understanding the needs of junior players is probably a good thing.
From Peter Ruicci:
[Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Jeff] Twohey also recalled the two years he spent as general manager of the Oshawa Generals and how he often spoke with Raftis about players.
“I found he had a real good read on them, both as kids and players,” Twohey said.
As the GM in Peterborough, Twohey often compared working in that city to working in Sault Ste. Marie, noting how both jobs have special challenges.
“The people in both cities are so rabid when it comes to their teams,” he said. “But I think Kyle's personality will be suited to the Sault. To work there, you need a sense of calm because you're always under a microscope. I think Kyle can handle it and I'm extremely proud of him.” (Sault Star)
Legacy is probably much of a buzzword to throw around in this instance. Continuity is important in an ever-fluid hockey universe, though. Raftis will probably make his own mark in good time, but seeing how the last hire in 'Hounds-land worked out, it makes sense to turn to a similar front-office archetype.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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