Junior hockey's king

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:27 PM ET

BRANDON, Man. -- You could offer Kelly Kisio any job on earth right now.

He's not listening.

King of the world? Not right now, thanks.

But maybe next week?

Who knows?

The Calgary Hitmen GM is a tad busy these days. His team is playing for junior hockey's Holy Grail -- the Memorial Cup -- this week in Brandon.

If you want to talk about that, pull up a chair.

If not, you'll have to wait.

"Don't ask me about that!" he said, halfway through the question.

"Not now."

The question, of course, is what a lot of NHL teams -- the Flames at the top of the list -- want to know.

Is there anything left for Kisio to prove at this level?

In short -- nope.

If he chooses to stay in his role as the top GM in all of junior hockey, it will likely be his decision.

Someone is going to be knocking on his door.

Kisio's track record is impeccable.

The draft record -- for which which he immediately and consistently credits his scouting team -- has been fantastic.

It's a large part of why the Hitmen have gone to the Conference finals four years in a row.

"We do everything as a committee," Kisio said, who is always quick to deflect the praise to head scout Brad Whelen and his team.

"I shouldn't be the guy taking all the accolades here."

Fair enough.

But as good as the draft has been -- and when you're picking dead last the last two seasons, and 19th the year before that, it's essential -- Kisio's trade record is pure brilliance.

He snagged Justin Pogge, who became the CHL goaltender of the year, future captain Dylan Yeo and contributing overager Tyrel Lucas in exchange for Scott Bowles, Andy Rogers and Lee Zalasky.

Steal.

Andrew Ladd for Jamison Orr? The jury is in on that one.

Joel Broda for Brendan Rowinski and a second-round pick? Come on.

Truth is, this entire column could be filled with Kisio's conquests at the trade table.

And this season is no different. A blockbuster trade-deadline deal brought in forwards Tyler Shattock and Jimmy Bubnick and d-man Zak Stebner. Add in the earlier acquisition of blueliner Giffen Nyren, also from the Kamloops Blazers, and you've got another productive season.

Junior hockey dynasties are nearly impossible to build.

With the constant player turnover, four straight trips to the Conference finals -- including back-to-back WHL Championship appearances -- is almost unheard of.

"Ken King has treated me very well," Kisio said of his boss, the president of the Flames. "He's let me do my thing and the only thing he's asked is that we work hard and make sure we're competitive.

"We've tried to do that.

"As for moving on to the next level, I plan on working for the Calgary Hitmen and Calgary Flames."

Safe answer.

And, likely, true.

If the Flames are looking to bolster or replace GM Darryl Sutter, Kisio has to be the man at the top of the list.

And if the Hitmen architect wants to move on to the NHL, there's no better time than right now.

OK, maybe not right now.


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