Pittsburgh needs a new GM

The current GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins is Craig Patrick, and it’s about time management finally let him go, for one thing, he’s the guy that’s run this team into debt, and assured that they have finished at the bottom of the division for many years now, still his bonehead decision and signings are hurting the team today. Ok he did help Pittsburgh win Stanley Cups in ’91 & ’92, but since then? They’ve made it to the playoffs 9 times out of 15, BUT they’ve never made it to the finals, and over the years this GM has acĀ¢umulated so much debt, even their highest paid player had to take over as part owner of the franchise. Let’s consider his decisions this year…

Signing of Jocelyn Thibault, who I should mention is still on injury reserve, and hasn’t played a game since who knows when, but why would you sign Thibault, if you have Sebastien Caron, who has some NHL experience from last year and Marc-Andre Fleury, a goalie who’s slowly becoming a Star Goalie in the NHL, intead, they send down Fleury, who goes 1-2 with a 1.57 GAA .939 save %, while Caron too goes 3-3 with a 1.18 GAA .954%, this may be the AHL, but usually players playing this good will be playing in the NHL, so what was the need for Thibault?

Secondly, forwards, I’d like to make a point Don Cherry made on Coach’s Corner when Ed Olczyk was fired as the Head Coach of the Penguins, obviously management had lost its patience with the head coach, but to be honest it wasn’t his fault. The players he had playing for him, weren’t the type of players he wanted, he loves hard hitting grinders that score goals, finesse and charismatic scoring from the likes of Sergei Gonchar and Zigmund Palffy aren’t what he was looking for. It doesn’t fit his style… put it this way, looking at the Penguins in their last 10 games of the 03-04 season went 6-3-1, Cherry said they went something like 10-3-1, but the point was at that point, management had told Olcyk he can call up whomever he wanted to play for him, and he threw out there players like Malone, Talbot, Ouellet and others similar… But instead, Craig Patrick goes out and signs players like Palffy and Gonchar, which some would say were overpriced, but in my opinion it was fair because that’s what the market price was for those players… but signing players like LeClair, or Odelein, players clearly out of their prime, ready for retirement… the team has young talented players, young players defenseman like Ryan Whiteny, and Brooks Orpik. Furthermore young talent with Michel Ouellet, Maxime Talbot and rising star Evgeni Malkin. Signing of Reechi was a win-win situation, considering, he was to help the team with his veteran presence, but in the end signed him for free and received pics and prospects for him at the trade deadline. But other signings were clearly uncalled for.

Lastly, about Olczyk, I get the feeling he wasn’t able to coach who he wanted, and had the axe coming, he played players Patrick signed and wasn’t able to play the players he wanted to. That’s why when Michel Therrien took over his job, he immediately called up Michel Oullet and Maxime Talbot, two players he believed to be NHLers and right now are succeeded, expecially Oullet who has 30 points in 45 games, and Talbot mainly used in PK or Defense, and even LeClair and others were bentioned for a few games by the new Head Coach. The point being, the problem isn’t the Coach, its the GM, had he stuck to his original team, added Crosby, and somehow convinced Malkin to come to Pittsburgh, the Penguins would be in a better position financially and developing into a playoff team.

Also, I thought I’d just tell about some trades Craig Patrick has pulled the trigger on in the past…

In the 1991 Draft Pittsburge Drafted Markus Naslund 16th overall, in 1996 they traded him away for Alek Stojanov, I don’t know who Stojanov is, I think he played a few years in the NHL, but Naslund is the Captin and Leading Scorer for the Canucks for the past 3 years…

At a time when Pittsburgh was going into debt because of high priced players like Jaromir Jagr, he traded Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk and future considerations, Jagr was the leading scrorer in the league the year before… the last time a leading scorer was traded teh following year was in Edmonton when Wayne Gretzky was traded to LA along with McSorly for THREE 1st round pics, Jimmy Carson and Martin Gelinas… I mean Patrick didn’t even get a first round pic out of the deal… even Doug Weight was traded for a 1st, two prospects and a player this year from St. Louis to Carolina…

That’s my rant about GM Craig Patrick, thank you for reading.

k


6 Responses to Pittsburgh needs a new GM

  1. wingerxxx says:

    I thought he had lost his mind when he gave Gonchar that albatross contract in the offseason. Being someone who is forced to watch the Caps very regularly (living in Maryland), a lot of hockey fans here would tell you that Gonchar was not a huge loss. He was always somewhat overrated. And when he signed LeClair, that pretty much confirmed it. You can’t blame him for Palffy though, he was a risk worth taking. His retirement took everyone by surprise.

    When you have this many number 1 draft picks in the past 5 years or so (regardless of where those picks are actually playing), and with the NHL under a new collective bargaining agreement…and your team is still horrible, a change at the top has to be, and should be made. I don’t think that Patrick is a horrble GM, but he clearly made some serious errors this past offseason. Errors that were pretty big both at the time, and in hindsight.

  2. goalieman32 says:

    dont think too poorly of patrick. a lot of the poor trades were done simply to cut the salary. thibault was picked up because they wanted fleury to stay in the minors in order to avoid paying him a possible 5 million in bonuses. also both fleury and caron are never very consistent, and thibault at the time was believed to be. thibault has had some good seasons but has never stayed healthy. he took a gamble and believed that thibault would be better than what he showed. palffy and gonchar were brought in to compliment crosby and make the team a more offensive. palffy did good before he was hurt and forced to retire and gonchar is second on the team in scoring. recchi played good and played his role when with the pens and john leclaire, while out of his prime, is still a leader in points on the team. odelien was brought in to add another physical element to the blueline instead of only having orkic. he and roy were also brought in to add some grit and protect crosby. malkin couldnt come over because he has a contract in russia that he cannot legally get out of. he made a lot of gambles in the off-season that looked good at the time but turned out otherwise.

    in my opinion, the main reason the pens cannot win is because the goaltending has been far too inconsistent and they have taken too many penalties. some of the players that had good seasons just didnt transition to the new NHL well.

  3. JCob says:

    Patrick must go! But I don’t think it is going to happen this year. It all depends on what happens with the sale of the team.

    I really don’t blame him for this year because alot of people thought the pens would make it to the playoffs. I do blame him for everything else though. If you look at his 1st round draft pics over the last decade, they either never made it to the nhl or were traded away. Its easy to make good pics when you have the first overall pic.

    His draft picks have been a little better the last 5 or 6 years but he needs to be fired before he trades them all away!

    Patricks worst trade ever: Zubov for Hatcher

  4. wingerxxx says:

    I still have nightmares of Kevin Hatcher playing for the Rangers. Ugh!

  5. Kraftster says:

    Craig’s time is probably up, but this article is awful.

    Aside from the inaccuracies in player names, etc. the general idea that Craig Patrick is resonponsible as “the guy that run this team into debt” is insane. I’m not even sure how the case can be made, and it wasn’t made at any point in this entire article.

    The payroll problems that the Penguins have/had go back to Howard Baldwin, a former owner — the person you normally blame for running a team into debt (and justifiably so). Craig Patrick’s “salary dump” trades can’t reasonably be considered as deals for which he ought to be held accountable for the ultimate failures of those deals. The fact that he simply could not take on any salary at all in these deals immediately limited what he could get in return. Beyond that, what he was left with was prospects or picks. The pens wanted somethign more tangible, so what they received was 3 of Washington’s top prospects (if not their TOP 3). They didn’t pan out, we all hope that they had; but to blame Patrick when this move and others were entirley ownership/salary dictated is simply wrong.

    The team was a lot more successful than you made it sound like after the Cup seasons. They were the heavy, heavy favorite to win the cup again the following year, and ended up with the third highest winning percentage among any team during the 90s. I’d call that success.

    Naslund, Naslund, Naslund. Yes, he was a Penguin; yes, it hurts that he’s not anymore, but it was ONE DEAL! People have wanted Patrick gone for years now based on that one deal! Let’s take a look at some of his better deals:

    Robert Lang off of waivers

    Cullen deal (ballsy and great)

    Tocceht, Wregget, Samuelsson

    Brad Norton for Johan Hedberg

    Kaspar (who became a face of the team) & Johansson for Smolinski, not to mention the original Smolinksi deal, he and Murray for Stevens and McEachern

    Stu Barnes and Jason Wooley for Chris Wells!!!

    Hatcher for Zubov

    Kovalev deal

    Norm Macaiver for Straka (later bringing Marty back)

    Coffey deal

    there’s more pretty solid deals to go with those as well. From that, the most you can say is that Patrick is past his prime, that his deals have gone down hill, but you still can’t impeach him for the salary dumps, and blaming him for “debt”, well, as I already said, that makes no sense at all.

    The Penguins did not overpay for Gonchar. This is a general statement to all of the responses that I am sure will include this statement. If you look at the market for defensemen last summer: Gonchar got an average salary of about $5 million, while Neidermeyer got closer to $6, Foote $5, Aucoin $4.5. Look at the numbers over the past seasons and Gonchar fits right in there. That is what they should have given him if they wanted him without getting into a bidding war. Whether he has lived up to that salary this season is a different question entirely.

    No one could have possibly imagined that Thibault would fail this season so badly. He had very, very solid career numbers on some weak teams and I won’t believe anyone who says they thought this was a bad move at the time it was made.

    You have to look at the Leclair signing for what it was. It was probably not really done on Patrick’s initiative, and was certainly not a move that was supposed to be a season changer. It was a “we’re going to make a run this year, lets get some old vets together here and see if we can do this.”

    Bottom line, this is an unwarranted, unjustified, and unsubstantiated attack on Patrick. His recent trades, I hate, and I think he has gone down hill as GM, but this is just plain incorrect.

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