The Everett Silvertips remain confident in signing defenseman Landon DuPont, the first-overall selection in this year’s WHL prospects draft, who’s considered a generational talent. (Photo courtesy of Chris Mast)

The Everett Silvertips remain confident in signing defenseman Landon DuPont, the first-overall selection in this year’s WHL prospects draft, who’s considered a generational talent. (Photo courtesy of Chris Mast)

Patterson: Have patience Tips fans, offseason news is coming

Everett is close to hiring a new GM and new coach, and still confident of signing Landon DuPont.

Zoran Rajcic has one message for jittery Everett Silvertips fans:

Have patience, he and the organization are on the case, but they have to follow due process.

This offseason is a pivotal one for the Silvertips. Everett has to find both a general manager and a head coach after Dennis Williams, who held both positions, departed to become the head coach of the Bowling Green University men’s team. The Tips also still need to sign first-overall WHL prospects draft pick Landon DuPont, the exceptional-status defenseman who is expected to be a transformational player.

Williams announced he was leaving just before the playoffs began in late March, while the prospects draft was in early May. We’ve now reached well into June and none of those tasks have been completed, so it’s understandable if Tips fans are getting a little anxious.

I caught up with Rajcic, Everett’s chief operating officer, Monday afternoon, and his words should calm the nerves, at least a little.

”I know people can’t believe we’ve turned the calendar to June, everyone wants something done today or tomorrow,” Rajcic said. “But just be patient, there’s a process that needs to be followed, and that’s what we’re trying to do right now.”

Ah yes, that word: “process.” It’s a term sports fans both love and loathe. Supporters want their teams to do thing the the right way, but often get antsy during the time it takes for process to lead to results.

But in this case, Rajcic is intimately aware of the need to follow due process.

Indeed, the first thing Rajcic mentioned was that both the general manager and coach positions have all but been filled. Rajcic said team already has an individual earmarked for each position, but that the team is waiting to finalize anything until their work visas are approved.

“We learned that lesson the hard way years ago when we announced Garry Davidson as our new general manager (in 2012), but he didn’t have his immigration yet and then we didn’t have Garry for the first six months (as he was stuck in Canada waiting for his immigration paperwork to be processed),” Rajcic said. “After what we went through with Garry we decided we’d better wait a little bit to make sure immigration is cleared.”

Rajcic wasn’t handing out any names, but if one’s looking for a clue, the need for a work visa means it won’t be an American serving as either general manager or head coach. Of course, Rajcic said in the past that Alberta-based assistant general manager Mike Fraser, who was hired as Everett’s head scout in 2018 and promoted to his current position in 2022, was at the head of the queue for general manager.

And the coach?

“We had 75-80 good, qualified candidates apply,” Rajcic said. “We had coaches from the USHL, the AHL, the WHL, there were a lot of European guys wanting to look at the position. I think we have a strong, strong candidate who will be able to takes us forward into a new era of the Everett Silvertips.

“I wish we could have announced the coach earlier, but we needed time to really understand what we were looking for and make sure they’d be here for the next few years. We’re going to have a good team next year, but we’re going to have a really good team the year after that and the year after that. So this had to be the right decision for the future of the club.”

Speaking of the future of the club, DuPont should be the focal point of those “really good” teams in 2025-26 and 2026-27. However, while all but one of this year’s other first-round picks have committed to their teams, DuPont remains unsigned. There were rumblings before the draft that DuPont was at least considering the NCAA route. However, Rajcic said the delay has more to do with negotiations between DuPont’s family and the CHL and WHL than it does with negotiations between DuPont and the Tips.

“I feel very good about the situation,” Rajcic said. “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that doesn’t really pertain to us that needs to bet lined up with the WHL and the CHL. Because of the Connor Bedard effect, with all the nuances that come along with being that kind of player, they’re trying to hammer out some things that go beyond the standard player agreement (stick deals, glove deals, etc.). But every indication is that it’s going to get done.”

So take a deep breath, Tips fans. No, the big offseason news hasn’t happened yet, but it should be arriving soon.

Said Rajcic: “When all is said and done and in a couple of months when we drop the first puck, I think the fans are going to be excited about the future of the Everett Silvertips.”

Tips acquire forward Zacharias

Everett made a trade Tuesday, acquiring forward Raiden Zacharias from the Regina Pats in exchange for a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2026 WHL prospects draft.

Zacharias, a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is heading into his 18-year-old season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder was originally a fourth-round pick in the 2021 prospects draft. Zacharias spent last season with the U18 Saskatoon Blazers, recording 19 goals and a league-leading 43 assists in 44 games as the Blazers claimed the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League title.

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