Flyers general manager search: Why Bill Zito is an interesting dark horse choice


Want an under-the-radar candidate for the Flyers' general manager vacancy?

Bill Zito could be the guy.

Zito is the assistant general manager for the Blue Jackets, whom he has been with since August 2013, and also oversees the club's AHL affiliate Cleveland Monsters.

The 54-year-old Yale graduate used an agency and scouting background as a springboard into hockey management. 

Why Zito's a fit

Zito is known for being numbers savvy, which would only help with balancing the salary cap and wisely conducting contract negotiations, aspects the Flyers lacked before Ron Hextall.

Zito has represented a number of current and former NHL players — including Kimmo Timonen — and also brings a good eye for talent, according to Flyers official website contributor Bill Meltzer.

Why Zito's not a fit

The Flyers look like they want a candidate with a résumé already deep in general manager experience — a GM that has been there, done that on pulling off big trades and making tough decisions.

"I think you have to look at everything," Flyers president Paul Holmgren said Tuesday. "We're very focused on the trade deadline coming up on Feb. 25 and we think there could be some opportunities out there and, frankly, we don't want to miss out."

Zito doesn't have the track record quite yet as he hasn't held a role higher than AGM.

What they're saying

"Now that Jason Botterill is in Buffalo and Julien BriseBois has finally taken over in Tampa Bay, my next 'assistant general manager destined for greatness in the big chair' is Bill Zito."

- Greg Wyshynski,

"Another candidate that would make sense to me but I’ve not confirmed whether the Flyers will reach out to him is Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito who spoke with Carolina about its GM job last season and seems ready for the next step in his career."

- Pierre LeBrun, The Athletic

"As mentioned by Pierre LeBrun, a dark horse name for Flyers GM search is Columbus assistant GM Bill Zito. He will become an NHL GM — some liken him to Ray Shero — and had a good working relationship with Homer when Paul was Flyers GM and Zito was an agent (Timonen among others)."

- Meltzer, Flyers official website contributor

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