Ranking the 31 NHL general managers
Every day this week, theScore's hockey editors are evaluating NHL teams on a different level of management. This time, we're focusing on the GMs, ranking them based on salary cap and asset management, as well as draft history.
31. Vancouver Canucks
Jim Benning is either in executive prison, and carrying out another's agenda, or Vancouver's obvious lack of mindful direction is his enormously misguided modus operandi.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets
There may actually be no coming back from a David Clarkson acquisition.
29. Colorado Avalanche
With recent moves falling short of intrepid, the Avs' front office ranks poorly primarily on the basis of aligning itself with the haphazard tactics of Patrick Roy.
28. Minnesota Wild
The blank space between high-paid, depreciating veterans and a hindered draft core is Chuck Fletcher-made. He needs Bruce Boudreau to fix it.
27. Edmonton Oilers
Having been gifted Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi, Peter Chiarelli can only appropriately be evaluated, now one year into his tenure, on piecing together a blue line. It's been a failure thus far.
26. Montreal Canadiens
Marc Bergevin has signed numerous deals that carry incredible value for the Canadiens, but his allegiances and mismanagement of P.K. Subban stands to define his tenure.
25. New York Rangers
It's unfair to dump on Jeff Gorton, who inherited an empty cupboard after his predecessor Glen Sather's failed pursuit of a championship. There's an onerous task ahead.
24. Boston Bruins
Don Sweeney has shown signs of intuition, and his nine draft picks in the first and second rounds could turn out to be a coup, but he's simply not managing assets and resources in an effective enough manner.
23. Ottawa Senators
It'll be tough for Pierre Dorion to make a distinctive stamp on the franchise, though it seems imperative he does so.
22. Carolina Hurricanes
Fans must be encouraged with Ron Francis' process so far. He's drafted quite well through two cycles, and made strategic, small-market tweaks to add high-level young talent to his mix.
21. Philadelphia Flyers
Many who contributed to Philadelphia's downfall still have pull, but Ron Hextall seems to be the right man to hold final say.
20. New Jersey Devils
With a clean slate and no immediate expectations from the higher-ups, Ray Shero's had the luxury of sitting back and tactically picking his spots, and he's done so with considerable effectiveness.
19. Los Angeles Kings
Success weighed heavily in this criteria, and yet, two Stanley Cups couldn't hide Dean Lombardi's suspect asset management, process, and draft record over the last five seasons.
18. Buffalo Sabres
With full backing from ownership, Tim Murray's in the process of aggressively executing his ideal: a full bottom-out, rapid rebuild. It's encouraging and exciting for fans, sure, but are undermining shortcuts taken with hurried growth?
17. Las Vegas
This seems like an appropriate spot for George McPhee, who will look to begin piecing together the framework for another President's Trophy winner in Las Vegas after a successful run in Washington.
16. Arizona Coyotes
The sample is limited in the post-Don Maloney era, but the John Chayka-Dave Tippett tandem is off too a booming start.
15. Detroit Red Wings
It feels strange ranking Holland anywhere but the top of the executive summit. His draft record is unrivaled, and he led the organization most prepared for changes in the post-lockout era. And yet, recent dealings suggest the Red Wings are failing to discern the NHL's current direction.
14. San Jose Sharks
A season of restoration and reconciliation has improved Doug Wilson's standing. Hiring Pete DeBoer and acquiring Joel Ward and Paul Martin re-routed this team, which came to within two wins of a validating title after flirting with deconstruction.
13. Calgary Flames
An odd Burke-ism may lead some to believe otherwise, but this is truly Brad Treliving's well-run, cost-effective show. He's picked his spots well, using draft weekend to acquire ready pieces and quality prospects, and there isn't a single handcuffing contract on the payroll.
12. New York Islanders
Garth Snow's brought a level of stability unknown in previous decades. His poaching of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy catapulted his team into the next tier. And lately, his work at the draft could carry them into the next class of contenders.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs
This front office has been rhapsodized about enough, but earns marks for a multitude of reasons. The Maple Leafs and Lou Lamoriello have identified a clear objective, and they're funneling every resource into executing the plan. Purpose must precede performance.
10. St. Louis Blues
This is clearly a well-run organization, with the Blues' 230 wins the most in the NHL over the last five years. And yet, sustainability has almost become tired in the absence of tangible success. They'll continue to do things the right way - and win - but the measures required to lift them over the top haven't been taken yet.
9. Florida Panthers
It's been an odd summer, and ownership might be a touch too hands-on, but it remains a sage operation. This is a top-tier drafting team, and on the payroll, Dave Bolland's contract is the only beat-up pinto in a parking lot full of waxed luxury sedans.
8. Winnipeg Jets
After only five seasons of existence, the Jets have built up perhaps the league's best farm. Kevin Cheveldayoff has also brokered club-friendly extensions with his three most important non-entry-level assets. And he owns a clean book, which is paramount to a team working on an internal budget.
7. Anaheim Ducks
Bob Murray works without hesitation, which gets him in and out of trouble. But that's the type of activity - a persistence in trying to improve - you must appreciate as a fan. He's also won four consecutive division titles on a budget, which isn't nothing.
6. Dallas Stars
Having graduated from the Detroit Red Wings' school of management and inheriting vast resources in Dallas, Jim Nill's assembled the NHL's greatest attack primarily through the trade market. However, a solution in goal still eludes him.
5. Washington Capitals
Brian MacLellan's had influence on all matters in the Alex Ovechkin era, but since he earned autonomy over the club, it's turned a corner. He chose the right coach in Barry Trotz, and his tinkering has netted positive results.
4. Nashville Predators
It's a high mark for a group at it for 18 years, but few are executing better than the Predators right now. David Poile's brilliant contracts deeply outweigh the few that can be nitpicked, his defense looks as good on paper as it will on the ice, and his ability to swing high-stakes hockey deals is unmatched.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
What a difference a year can make. He didn't build the Penguins, but Jim Rutherford restored them to a former glory with a series of extraordinary deals. And while there's a definite recency bias here, the Penguins' roster isn't about to be bludgeoned by the cost of a banner. That's Rutherford's doing.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
Stan Bowman's assembled three of the last seven championship rosters, so it does seem a bit silly not having Chicago at No. 1, but his front office isn't without fault. Chicago doesn't have a dazzling record at the draft, and will continue to be punished every summer under the weight of the cap.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Steve Yzerman inherited his pillars, but remains responsible for building an enduring contender around Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. He owns a superb draft record and has shown businesslike efficiency in the trade market, but what sets him apart is having his assets all toe the line.
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