Opinion: Mark Hunter would be the wrong GM hire for the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets continue their search for a new General Manager. We have seen plenty of speculation that Mark Hunter could be at the top of their list, but I think he's the wrong choice.
2016 NHL Draft - Round One
2016 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Jackets need to turn the corner and start winning hockey games next season. While they need to find the right fit for success right now - that fit and success has to carry over for the next half decade, at the very least. A few years of marginal success is no longer good enough.

With any new GM hire, I think it's fair to expect a "shock factor" to the entire system. I definitely think that whoever the team hires, is going to look to make their presence felt right away.

What matters here is, what kind of shock value are we getting?

The Hunters have a notoriety for being somewhat brash in how they handle business. They are straight to the point, and traditionally, they have a plan that works.

But let's not forget the point I just made: this is the NHL, not junior hockey. And Mark Hunter is jockeying to become a rookie in this league at the ripe age of 61. In fact, he'll be 62 later this year.

The first question I have here is, how many years is he looking to run an organization? The Jackets should be working to find someone who will run this team for a long time. Someone with a vested interest in success not only this year, and next ... but several years down the road as well.

The potential of this hiring points towards a mentorship for Rick Nash, something geared towards making him the eventual general manager of this franchise. While I think that sounds great in theory; are they really hiring the right guy for right now by taking that approach?

Or, would this be a stop-gap until their preferred candidate is ready to take on the role?

To me, that screams of a franchise not wanting to spend the money up front to build a winner. I could be entirely wrong about that, but I cannot help but think that this would be the case.

The other, more pressing concern I have here: this is a new age NHL, where teams have success because they consistently churn out young talent in a positive environment. Isn't that what we're primed to become?

Look at the featured image on this article. If you aren't completely new to hockey, that's Lou Lamoriello on the left side.

Lou is one of Mark Hunter's greatest mentors. At 81 years old, he's still the GM of the New York Islanders. In my opinion, that's exactly what we don't want the Blue Jackets to turn into.

The Isles scratch and claw their way into a low playoff seed every year, just to get bounced in the first round; and have the worst prospect pool in all of hockey. All behind a heavy-handed GM who doesn't even let his players have the freedom to grow facial hair. No thanks.

In 1995 or even 2000, that's probably exactly how we would have wanted our team managed. But in today's NHL, loading up on gritty veteran middle-six players, is a perfect recipe for mid-level success. It's not sustainable.

The philosophies that the Blue Jackets should be pursuing in this search should be as follows: Positive, competitive environment. Drafting and developing. Analytical approach.

All of this should sound familiar, because this is exactly what former AGM of the Blue Jackets - Bill Zito - has done with the Florida Panthers. That's the kind of methodology that works in today's NHL.

Not the heavy handed, grizzled veteran approach. For these reasons, I think hiring Mark Hunter for this job could set this franchise back into the beginnings of its rebuild. Or worse, destroy the whole thing entirely.