Except all of the ex players in the current era that are now GM/President (i.e. not Bobby Clarke) had lower-level front office experience prior to being appointed.
Neely was VP for 3 years before being President.
Yzerman was VP of Wings, then GM of team Canada.
Nieuwendyke was a consultant and assistant to GMs in Florida and Toronto.
And then there's Garth Snow who retired and was directly appointed to a GM position.
I would be fine if Gilman was promoted to GM with...