For the last five seasons, Chris MacFarland has filled the role as the Assistant General Manager for the Colorado Avalanche. Working closely with Joe Sakic, MacFarland has helped to build the Avs from an embarrassment at the bottom of the league into one of the best young teams in the NHL. Through shrewd player management, the Avalanche have an incredibly bright future as they are entering into a window of legitimate Stanley Cup contention.
The work of the front office hasn’t gone unnoticed throughout the NHL. Something made evident by the fact that MacFarland is now having his name thrown out as a candidate for vacant General Manager roles around the league.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, MacFarland was one of a handful of candidates - along with Mark Hunter, Ed Olczyk, and Laurence Gillman - interviewed for the New Jersey Devils’ General Manager role a few weeks ago. The job eventually went to Tom Fitzgerald.
Though he ultimately didn’t get the job, the fact that MacFarland was interviewed gives a sense as to how he is viewed throughout the league. With Sakic firmly entrenched as the General Manager in Colorado, MacFarland has little chance to move up in the organization despite being a key part of the team’s success. That means he is going to be looking to advance his career elsewhere and the Avalanche won’t stand in his way.
Now, only 24 hours after word broke that John Chayka was removed as the General Manager of the Arizona Coyotes, MacFarland’s name has been floated as a potential replacement.
For the time being, the role has been given to Steve Sullivan on a interim basis but the team is going to be interviewing candidates to find a permanent replacement before the start of next season. MacFarland’s name already being in the rumor mill suggests that he will at last get an interview with the Coyotes.
His potential departure from the organization would be a blow to the Avalanche but if it means he gets to run the front office elsewhere, it’s a move that is understandable.
MacFarland joined the Avalanche front office in 2015 after 14 years with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.