The 5 best GM's or the 5 Best American GM's???
After reading the thread about ESPN dumping on the senators, it really got me thinking about whether or not it is true that the American press are biased towards american teams. After reading the article entitled “These guys have been smarter than the average GM” by Wes Goldstein which can be found at http://www.sportsline.com/nhl/story/6216282 my opinion is yes, they are.
In Mr. Goldstein’s esteemted opinion the top five GM’s this year are Doug Armstrong (Dallas), Lou Lamoriello (jersey), George McPhee (Washington), Bryan Murray (anaheim) and David Poile (Nashville). He also gave honorable mentions to Rick Dudley (florida), Jay Feaster (Tampa Bay) and Pat Quinn (toronto)
Of course the first obstacle to writing an article like this is to determine what qualifies someone to be clasified as GM of the year. I’m assuming that by picking Armstrong, McPhee, Murray and Poile he is basing his judgement on a great turnaround from last year. Last year Dallas finished with 90 points and out of the playoffs. Washington finished with 85 points and also missed the playoffs. Anaheim had a horrendous 69 points. Nashville finished with 69 as well. But then Lamoriello wouldn’t count because the Devils had a good year last year they may have finished in third in the Atlantic but they had 95 which placed them fifth in the east in points.
Goldstein also based his opinion on moves made by each of the GM’s. Although he paid lip service to the fact that not all GM’s have the same resources it doesn’t seem like it had any real impact on his list. Armstrong had a vast advantage over a majority of the other GM’s in the league when purchasing players like Guerin and although having money doesn’t necesarily translate into a winning team (Mr. Sather) it seems Goldstein doesn’t really pay enough homage to the poorer teams. The same could be said of Washington who have fairly deep pockets. Something must also be said for GM’s who develop their talent and I think Dave would fit in here, rather than his personnel moves, alot of Nashville’s success must be attributed to the development of its young players, especially the play of Vokoun.
It’s hard to judge a GM’s impact in only one year. Lou is obviously included because he has worked his magic over many years and the difference between this year and last is hardly as significant as some other teams that missed Goldstein’s top five. So if this list includes GM’s that have had the greatest impact on their team leading upto and including this year should you not include Vancouver and Ottawa in this list??? If Scotty Bowman were still coaching and his team won 50 games this year and he won coach of the year and then the next year they won the same, should he not be considered for the award because they were just as good as last year??
Although I agree with Goldstein that Dallas should be at the top of the list and that Bryan Murray should be included its hard to justify Lou, George and Dave when you consider the work that Brian Burke and John Muckler have done for their respective teams. Last year the Senators finished behind the Devils with 94 points and this year they lead the eastern conference. Yes Muckler has not made any big moves but it seems that his team has had a better turn around than lou’s Devils. Last year Vancouver finished in 8th spot in the west with 94 points and this year they are second with 85 already. Vancouver is another team that made no major acquisitions although the pick up of Marik Malik has been fundamental to the teams success. And both these teams are working under tight budgets. It appears the only reason George is included is because his team is going to make the playoffs this year in the incredibly weak south-east division. Although dave has done a great job in Nashville and the preds have been playing great hockey lately, they still haven’t secured a playoff berth and there is no way you can include a GM in the top five who doesn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
In my opinion if you are going to create a list of the top five GM’s in the NHL it has to take into account the short term history of the team, the turnaround from the previous year and also the acqusitions made through trades and free-agents while also accounting for a Managers financial flexibility. So in my opinion the top five GM’s should be
1. Dave Armstrong – Dallas
2. Brian Burke – Vancouver
3. Bryan Murray – Anaheim
4. John Muckler – Ottawa
5. Lou Lamoriello – Jersey a distant fifth.