August 19 2014 12:01PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced a hiring today, adding Brandon Pridham to the front office as an assistant manager. Pridham will be responsible for managing the salary cap, negotiating contracts, and interpreting the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Who Is He?
Pridham, pictured above processing a trade call during the 2011 deadline (Dustin Penner to LA, to be specific), has worked with the National Hockey league for the past 15 years. Beginning his time as a co-ordinator in the Central Scouting division, he eventually worked his way up to the Central Registry. His most recent responsibilities revolved around advising executives with the CBA, Salary Cap, and Central Scouting. Pridham is a native of Stouffville, Ontario and is 40 years old.
Why This is Great
I really like this move, and it's not an unorthodox one from an MLSE standpoint. Pridham may be the most qualified person on the planet for interpreting the CBA and the Cap. That was, you know, his job. He'll be able to exploit every technicality and grey area to find even the slightest hair of an edge.
Finding these edges was something that Toronto FC had to do in order to start a roster featuring Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley, Gilberto, and Julio Cesar to start the season, along with a relatively well paid supporting cast. They managed to do this thanks to their General Manager, Tim Bezbatchenko. The 32 year old Bezbatchenko was hired by TFC last September for this very purpose. His previous role? Almost identical to Pridham's, but in the MLS. As Senior Director of Player Relations and Competition, he handled every contract and transfer the league had to offer, along with being the resident expert of the CBA. Nobody knew how to cheat the MLS' rules from a dollar perspective more than him, so he was hired with no team front office experience. So far, so good.
Granted, the MLS has a lot more loopholes and weird angles than the NHL, but it's still good to have the best person available. The move also means that Dave Nonis is the only member of the Leafs' core front office group over 45 years old, including President Brendan Shanahan.