On Plank and TCY's advice, I took a wait-and-see approach to the wall at this year's Draft. As near as I could tell, the Ducks weren't sending anyone to the wall to talk to the press. The local writers weren't waiting for them, and the Ducks' people weren't asking the press who they wanted to talk to. In fact, the entire Ducks table seemed to disperse while most of the Canadian outlets were still starting to huddle around the press wall, elbowing me and telling me to get out of Darryl Sutter's light.
But I stayed, because I saw David McNab was still around. It's hard to miss the Brobdingnag of a man. Even sitting in a folding chair, the eyeglasses of the 6'6" McNab seemed to peer over the heads of the crowd on the Draft floor. And he continued to sit in that chair for what was an interminable wait for me at the wall.
Eventually, he finished his Diet Coke (one of many I'm sure) and collected his things, but then he just seemed to walk the floor catching up with people, from one faceoff dot to the other and back, the sort of rotation you expect from a former goalie. I continued to wait, because, being positioned near the exit, I figured he'd come my way eventually. He didn't, and as he left through a side entrance (roughly center ice) into the seats of the Staples Center, I relied on a kind member of the event staff to let me cut through the Draft floor to follow behind the egressing McNab.
He was gracious enough to set aside some time as I chased him down, and he recognized me from when I had interviewed him the week before though, thankfully, not from the gushing blog posts Anaheim Calling has published in praise of his work and sometimes his legend.
I didn't want to take too much of his time, so I just asked about the draft and an update on some of the quotes he gave me the week before on drafting California players. It was an okay interview, but not even the tip of the iceberg of information one could get from David McNab as far as building Ducks teams, scouting for Ducks teams, building this Ducks team, building the next Ducks team and on and on and on.
McNab interviewed for the GM position in Minnesota, his old scouting stomping grounds, in 2009, but ultimately lost out to former fellow Ducks front office staffer Chuck Fletcher. In talking to Eric Stephens, McNab is candid about his desire to some day get a top job, but also happy to note that he won't find his life lacking without it-- and also happy to express his ever enduring loyalty to the Ducks.
Any argument about a person earning a job as a general manager is specious. Rarely does someone earn the right to be good at a job and be a good fit for the particular opening for which he is applying. McNab didn't miss out on the Wild job because he hadn't earned it yet. In fact, if you were to create some nebulous ledger of merit and compatibility with a franchise, it's hard to look at McNab's work for the Ducks and say he hasn't earned a crack at the big chair ten times over.
So maybe he didn't earn a renewal or earn the right to take over for Bob Murray when the current GM's tenure ends . . . maybe he was just born to do it.