EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips may be without a general manager, but a roster for the 2021-22 season still needs to be constructed. Therefore, coach Dennis Williams is taking on personnel decisions, at least on a temporary basis.
The Silvertips announced Tuesday that Williams has been named interim general manager. Everett had been without a GM since choosing not to renew Garry Davidson’s contract two weeks ago as part of the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Williams has been Everett’s coach for four seasons, guiding the Tips to three U.S. Division titles, including during the recently-concluded 2020-21 season that was shortened and played without fans because of the pandemic.
Everett chief operating officer Zoran Rajcic said the move was made primarily because the team needed someone in place to deal with the upcoming CHL import draft, which takes place June 30.
“The Euro draft is coming up quick and we’ve been receiving emails from scouts and agents,” Rajcic said. “With us not being at capacity with our staffing, we needed someone to take on that task, and with the season over Dennis had some time.”
Williams has previous general-manager experience, as he was both general manager and coach of the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder prior to taking over as Everett’s coach in 2017. However, Rajcic stressed that this was a move made with the short term in mind — though he also didn’t rule out the possibility of Williams being given the title on a full-time basis.
“We’re still collecting information,” Rajcic said about the search for a general manager. “There’s been quite a long list of people who have submitted information or reached out. But we’re still in the process of figuring out what our next move will be and what it might look like.”
Everett still has its allotted two European players on its 50-player protected list: Finnish defenseman Kasper Puutio, who turns 19 Thursday, and Czech center Michal Gut, who turns 19 in August. However, neither played for Everett last season, opting to remain in Europe because of the pandemic, and Puutio in particular is expected to play professionally in Finland next season. Therefore, Rajcic is anticipating Everett will make at least one selection in the import draft.
Four Tips named U.S. Division All-Stars
Everett dominated the U.S. Division All-Star team, as four of the six selections were Tips.
Goaltender Dustin Wolf received his third All-Star nod. Wolf, who was in his 19-year-old season, went 18-3-0-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts. He was a Western Conference first-team All-Star each of the previous two seasons.
Joining Wolf on the U.S. Division All-Star team were 20-year-old forward Cole Fonstad (16 goals, 18 assists in 23 games), 19-year-old forward Gage Goncalves (12 goals, 22 assists in 23 games) and 18-year-old defenseman Ronan Seeley (five goals, 12 assists in 23 games).
The other two members of the team were both from Portland: forward Simon Knak and defenseman Nick Cicek.
Draft lotteries set for Wednesday, Thursday
The lottery for the 2021 WHL prospects draft and U.S. priority draft take place Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Usually the prospects draft lottery, which determines the order of the first round of the draft, only involves the six teams that didn’t reach the playoffs. However, because of the shortened season in which teams didn’t play outside their own division, all 22 teams will be involved in this year’s lottery. Everett, by virtue of winning the U.S. Division, will have one of the 50 balls in the pot. The Tips could end up picking sixth, 19th, 20th, 21st or 22nd in the first round. Everett, which finished with the league’s second-best record, will select 21st in each successive round. The 2021 prospects draft, which normally would have taken place in early May, has been rescheduled for Dec. 9. The draft will be for players born in 2006.
The U.S. priority draft lottery will have each team with an equal opportunity to select in each of the draft’s 22 slots. The second round of the two-round draft will be in reverse order of the first round. The draft, which is for U.S. players only, is slated for Dec. 8 and also for those born in 2006. Players not selected in the U.S. priority draft remain eligible for selection in the prospects draft.