For those of you somewhat new to Blue Seat Blogs, for the last couple of years we have branded awarded certain GMs around the league as the “worst GM in hockey” for their risky trades, unspectacular drafts or financially unsound signings. Keep in mind we base these nominations on moves made (or not made) within the last year or so.
Two seasons ago the trophy went to Darryl Sutter (formerly of the Flames) for being the worst GM in hockey. Sutter at the time had crippled Calgary’s farm system, handed out more no-movement clauses than anyone in the league and had recently traded franchise cornerstone Phaneuf without receiving a single prospect or draft pick in return. He didn’t last too much longer after that.
Last summer there were too many GMs to pick from, so we offered up multiple candidates including Chuck Fletcher (Minny), Paul Holmgren (PHI), Dale Tallon (FLA), and Greg Sherman (COL). We polled our readers and the award eventually went to Sherman. If you are interested in the logic behind some of these picks, please read last summer’s post.
On to the nominations…
Scott Howson – Columbus Blue Jackets
Howson may be this summer’s runaway pick, thanks in large by his mishandling of Rick Nash. Obviously his hands were a bit tied, but it isn’t the trade itself that nominates Howson. It’s how he handled the overall process.
As I wrote back in March, Howson could have sold the eventual trade of Nash as a Boston trading Bourque for a chance to win the Cup type scenario. Instead he publicly ousted his star player and voluntarily put himself in a Dany Heatley/Ottawa situation. As a result, most of his leverage was lost.
This summer his trade demands were so high many potentially suitors hung the phone up on him leaving just the Rangers to make a trade with. No matter how you slice it, instead of the fans turning on Nash, they turned on Howson. It’s only a matter of time before CBJ axes him.
Pierre Gauthier – former GM of the Montreal Canadiens
PG was fired at the end of March, but I am still going to nominate him since he was the GM of Les Habitants for pretty much all of last season and two mediocre years before that. Everyone up in Quebec blamed the firing of Jacque Martin and subsequent promotion of Randy Cunneyworth (the dude who couldn’t speak French) as the move that did Gauthier in. However, there were other moves made that were worthy of this nomination.
Michael Cammalleri was abruptly traded after some negative, but vague comments about the team’s direction. Although Gauthier claimed to have been working on that trade for months, the timing was really bad. You don’t trade a 30-40 goal scorer in the middle of a game against your biggest rival (the Bruins). To boot, I thought the team could have received a lot more for Cammy than oft-injured Rene Bourque, who finished the season -16 with 8 points in 38 games for MTL.
Scott Gomez should have gotten kicked to the curb long before this offseason’s buyout, which the new guy Marc Bergevin took care of.
Brian Burke - Toronto Maple Leafs
This nomination would probably be hotly contested if this were a Maple Leafs blog, but the fact of the matter is Burke took over the Maple Leafs in 2008 and has had little results during his tenure.
Brian should have blown that roster sky high and rebuilt from scratch. Instead, he has not drafted well, he makes blockbuster trades, which you could argue the beneficiaries either way and he throws too much money/cap space at mediocre players. At the end of the day, the team hasn’t moved out of the basement of the Eastern Conference.
Mike Komisarek, who can barely skate and has 19 points in his last 3 seasons, takes up $4.5m of cap space and he has a NMC/partial NTC. PS – Six other players on that team have similar clause, none of whom actually deserve it.
Garth Snow – New York Islanders
The Islanders have finished last in the division for 5 straight seasons. I know they are rebuilding, but there have been many teams who have rebuilt their franchises at a much quicker pace.
Snow doesn’t exactly let his picks marinate in the AHL, which seems counter-intuitive considering they preach about developing young players and the result is a team built on the backs of 18-19 year old kids. Not exactly a winning formula if you ask me.
I mean is anyone still high on Okposo, Bailey, or Niederreiter, all of whom were top 10 picks? And what the hell do they do with Rick DiPietro? He’s had three relatively healthy seasons and only 1 where he put up decent numbers. BTW – he is still signed for another 9 years.
This year’s runner up is Steve Tambellini of the Edmonton Oilers. Unlike Garth, the man has made the right top end picks, but at some point he has to stop going through coaches like they’re rolls of toilet paper. I am also not sure I buy the whole “rebuild” philosophy when you spent over $60 million in cap space last season.
I got my eye on you Steve-o.
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