Fronts zero in on new GM

Randy Russon
August 8, 2020

Kingston Frontenacs figure to have a new general manager in place towards the end of August.

Frontenacs president Doug Springer told the Kingston Whig Standard that the Ontario Hockey League team has narrowed down a list of candidates to take over from Darren Keily as GM.

Springer said he hopes to have a new GM in place within three weeks.

Keily was surprisingly fired by Springer earlier this month after having helped to guide the Frontenacs through two rebuilding seasons.

Springer brushed off any speculation that head coach Paul McFarland would add the GM duties to his bench position, saying that will not happen.

McFarland is poised to return to Kingston with a five-year contract after a three season stint as an assistant coach in the National Hockey League.

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 season, the Frontenacs are a contender-in-waiting with an above average group of returning players, especially at the forward position.

In particular, it is a top unit of forwards that stands tall in the talent pool and is primed to help elevate the Kingston into future OHL contention.

Center Shane Wright and wingers Zayde Wisdom and Martin Chromiak are first line pieces of the puzzle that have Kingston ticketed for emergence within the Eastern Conference come the 2020-2021 OHL season.

All three were major points producers with the Frontenacs during the 2019-2020 season — and they all have time on their side in the form of remaining OHL eligibility.

Granted exceptional status as a 2004 birth date youngster, Wright was Kingston’s first round pick — and first overall — at the 2019 OHL priority selections draft.

Wisdom and Chromiak both have 2002 birth dates. Wisdom was the Frontenacs fourth round pick at the 2018 OHL priority selections draft while Chromiak was taken by Kingston in the first round of the 2019 Canadian Hockey League import draft.

The Kingston trio played sweet music during the 2019-2020 OHL season.

Shane Wright

Wright and Wisdom finished one-two on the Frontenacs scoring short. Playing as a 15-year old, Wright put up 39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points while Wisdom was close behind with 29-30-59 numbers.

And just as impressive was Chromiak, who is being projected as a possible second or third round pick at this year’s NHL draft.

Chromiak joined the Frontenacs in January of this year and proceeded to light it up with 11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points in only 28 games after moving to Kingston from his Slovakia homeland.

To be sure, when a team has been at the bottom of the standings, it figures that there is no place to go but up. And Kingston, it would seem, is poised to move up sooner than later.

After its league-worst record of 14-52-2 in 2018-2019, Kingston improved marginally to a 19-39-4 mark in 2019-2020.

However, the slight boost was not enough to save the job of head coach Kurtis Foster, who was fired earlier this summer to make room for the return of the aforementioned Paul McFarland as the bench boss in Kingston.

As previously noted, the 34-year old McFarland, who has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL, was Kingston’s head coach for three winning seasons before that.

And led by the likes of the projected, aforementioned, first line troika of Wright, Wisdom and Chromiak, McFarland is headed to a really good situation as he makes for a rerun in Kingston effective the 2020-2021 OHL season.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, the Frontenacs are banking on Ryan Dugas to be the no. 1 goalie after two seasons as the backup in Kingston.

Of note, Kingston had a much better record with Dugas in net than any other goalie over the past two seasons.

With Dugas tending twine, the Frontenacs had a record of 16-21-0 — without him, they were a disaster with a 17-70-6 mark.

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