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yave1964

What makes a good NHL GM?

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  Ron Hextall was let go by the Flyers who grew impatient with his stay the course mentality and replaced with a GM who in his previous job went for the home run on a regular basis and sometimes it worked, other times it didn't in his stay with the Wild. Fans in here for the most part seem upset with the choice of Chuck Fletcher and are sitting poised with their finger on the keyboard ready to rip away when/if he makes his first major move. A lot of the same fans have been critical of Hextall for the opposite, refusing to make a move. Overall it has brought a question to my mind:

 

 WHAT MAKES A GOOD/SUCCESFUL GM IN THE NHL?

 

  The two part, good and successful can be construed as mutually exclusive of each other, to be successful you have to win a cup or turn a team around. To be good, well that is subjective.

 

  I am a lifelong Wings fan and have been hyper critical of GM Kenny Holland and the way that he allowed the Wings to slip off the mountain, falling down one rung at a time from Cup winner (08) to finalist (09) to contender (three or four more years) to lower end playoff team and finally into irrelevancy. During that time he signed his boys to long term deals and made some of the worst free agent signings ever in aging slugs like Modano, Alfredsson, Tootoo and Weiss who all had their moment of brilliance elsewhere but none with the Wings. It was like being in a car sliding on ice towards another vehicle knowing the inevitable collision was impossible to avoid. His draft record has been spotty but good in recent years, he missed badly on Svechnikov choosing him over Boeser who went a few picks later but the roster is dotted with kids with talent and there is a second wave on its way. Nonetheless IMHO he needs a gold watch and sent on his merry way.

 

  A bad GM, how to define that.... I know this sounds like sacrilidge to many but one of the worst in recent memory is Lou Lamoriello who like Holland won cups a couple of decades ago but since then in his tenure with the Devils did a dreadful job drafting for a decade, I mean, he missed every single year for a decade. His capology was wretched, he overpaid for some, lost others for nothing, he got by strictly on reputation and with a miracle fluky year from Brodeur and Kovie made it to an undeserved final in 2011. He was the GM in Toronto for five minutes but he inherited a stacked roster and truth is it is the Shanny and Babs show at least until Dubas got the nod. Now he is running the Islanders and traded for and signed every hard checking non scoring forward in the league. 

 

 A good GM, Yzerman comes to mind, he always figured out a way to retain the players who he wanted. He screwed up the Callahan trade but learned and played hardball with guys like Dotchin and Drouin making it clear that it is a privilege to play in Tampa. Murray in Anaheim always drafts well in spite of usually drafting 25th or so and makes smart hockey moves. Same can be said for the Sharks Doug Wilson. Cheveldayoff has drafted well and in spite of playing in the barren wasteland has most of his players happy or at least content to play there.

 

  IMHO a good GM

 

Makes the right personnel decisions which in todays cap era is more than just knee jerk adding a piece out of need but instead it is looking at the big picture. 

  He also is not afraid to look at his roster and say that player A is 30, a long term deal is out of the question even if he is producing and is unafraid to take a risk by making a move a year or even two early rather than locking someone up long term and regretting it with four years remaining on his deal. 

  He also drafts well. That does not mean he expects to get a McDavid at 20, but to use the Sharks as an example Wilson always seems to be bringing homegrown talent to flush out his roster. Look the Sharks roster over there are a few notable out of the organization additions such as Jones, Kane, Burns and Jumbo and now Karlsson but for the most part the players are home grown and they have had the same AHL coach for two decades which is patently unheard of but he teaches what is expected when they reach the NHL.

 He hires the right coach. He leaves him alone and allows him to do the job he is hired to do.

 

IMHO a bad GM

 

 Makes panic moves trading futures without properly utilization. Holland for example when the Wings were trying to stay relevant in their series of first round wipeouts traded guys like Nylen and Janmark who are capable third liners who can play up a line if needed for five minutes of Legwand and Eric Cole. Nylen and Janmark will be NHLers a decade after both the others are long gone from the game. 

 

 He meddles with coaching. He sides with the players against his coach.

 

 He overpays for the back end of his players careers. The Hawks are in cap hell with five guys eating over half of their cap, the league is dotted with damn good players who they have been forced to move on from and the Hawks are incapble of being competitive because of that.  In Chicago's case I would say that Bowman is A PERFECT EXAMPLE of a successful GM who won cups but not a good GM as the team is ruined because of his refusal to face reality and making poor roster decisions.

 

  So there are GM's who constantly tinker (Jim Nill) those who sit pat and allow the team to grow from within (Chevy) those who understand the cap better than others and make it work for them (Poile in Nashville) those that go down in Flames going for the homerun when it implodes around them (Blake with the Kings signing Kovie, Armstrong with the Blues adding O'Reilly, Maroon, Bozak and Perron) those who sit back and wait for the other guy to make a panic move and swoop in (Shero with the Pens with Kessel, Schultz, Hornqvist, too many to count really). 

 

  So I started this and I am no closer to answering it even for myself. Go into any fan website, ANY at all, even the best teams in the game such as Tampa and Nashville and you will find fans demanding their GM's head. There are those in Toronto after the Nylander fiasco/sago who will say that boy wonder GM was/is over his head and out of his depth literally just three months after they were ready to put his face on currency for signing Tavares. So maybe being a good/successful GM only goes as far as your last transaction in the same way that being a good goalie is defined by your last start or even your last save.

 

  So there it is. Help me out, what is your definition of a good GM? Or a successful one? Is that the same thing?

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As always @yave1964, a good read and some good points.
 

Not a lot I can add except to say I agree that a good GM has a plan, sticks to it, hires intelligent people, and, more importantly, LETS THEM DO THEIR JOBS, while not being afraid to alter the plan here and there if it absolutely makes sense to.

Going for the 'home run' once in a while is fine, but like you said, in this day and age of the cap, a GM best make sure that home run has at least a good success opportunity and not some shot in the dark.

Obviously planning for the future (something I, as an armchair GM, discovered I like to do) by looking at ages, salaries and what will be coming off books and what will need to put ON the books in coming seasons.
And of course, trends in players to see who really fits the mold of what the plan is in any given organization.

I know I will sound like a homer, but Stevie Y like you mentioned is a very good example of what a good GM does.
But then again, he really learned his craft BEFORE he came to Tampa Bay working in the Detroit organization, so maybe my backing him isn't such a homer move after all...

Good GM's also take bad situations and improves them.
Not necessarily be an instant Cup contender, but if the state of affairs in a given organization is BETTER when a certain GM takes over a horrible situation (even if it is just a 10 or 15 point jump in the standings with still no real chance at a title), then it is a WIN...and if that GM continues to make incremental improvements, then by all means, the guy should be given the chance to finish what he started, because chances are, he IS on to something......which is why I felt the Hextall firing was a shame.
He seemed to check all the boxes of what I just explained, but it was apparent the Flyer organization didn't feel like "waiting" some more.

One last thing I think that makes a good GM.... Checking his ego at the door.
Sure, he is the big man and is mostly in charge of constructing a winner, and, outside of the owner or president of hockey operations (always a pompous sounding title if you ask me), he has final word on who plays, who goes, who gets demoted, and who is the head coach.

But even with all that, a good GM won't let it be "about him" but rather, about what it really takes to build a team and fostering an environment where players and coaches WANT to be there, want to win for each other and the fans.....and the GM would gladly take a back seat in the dark somewhere while people can admire his team, even though they aren't necessarily celebrating HIM as the reason.

He just knows he is, and continues to build and maintain a winner.

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17 hours ago, yave1964 said:

even the best teams in the game such as Tampa and Nashville and you will find fans demanding their GM's head. 

 

Because of one main reason.

 

Always a bridesmaid never a bride will get folks to call for your head...so yeah as you said they are like many teams it is qualified by Cups nothing more...it is the only thing that matters.

 

There is no exact science to it.

 

I mean since i can't remember when i think 2007 with the Ducks it's been in no particular order: Pens, Blackhawks, Bruins, Wings, Kings who have won it all till the recent Caps (finally themselves).

 

The rest is fluff.

 

Maybe one day before I die I will see one hoisted in Philly I sure hope so.

 

And to answer your question what makes a good GM I will let you know when if ever the Flyers get one...

 

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To answer your question, what makes a good NHL GM?

 

You noted player personnel wins and losses... But didn't cover anything else. Understandably, I get it, but IMO there's a ton more behind being a good GM.

 

Looking at it from a fan perspective player personnel is about the only thing one could care about. But from an operations standpoint, or from an owners standpoint, generating $$ is all they ever put much emphasis on. Business, or rather being a successful business equals follow the money.

 

Something I brought up several years ago was the Wild, under Doug Risenbrough, were an economically successful team. The team never spent to the Cap but they had sellout after sellout. Contrary to some the previous ownership claimed they were losing money. Where have we heard that with the Minnesota North Stars? Hence, they left for Dallas and won a Stanley Cup, 2 Conference Titles, 2 Presidents Trophies and 8 Division Titles... They're doing well generating revenue. They were bought for $84 million in 1995 and are now valued at $525 million. The Dallas Stars are a prime example of spending more (wisely) can create residual earnings. Which is something the Minnesota North Stars never figured out.

 

Insert the Minnesota Wild. So under Robert Naegele, Jr., and GM Doug Risenbrough, as mentioned they ran a tight ship on spending. Wild fans here viewed them as cheap. The results as some pride themselves as describing, they're a successful team because they've had so many sellouts in a less than desirable "Hockey Market" because everyone here keeps reminding everyone (nationally) that Minnesota isn't a very good hockey market. (That's something I totally disagree with.) Minnesota probably has more hockey pucks and hockey arena's per capita than any other state or Canadian Providence... To match it's 'Land of 10,000 Lakes' boast.

 

Granted, it's a bit off-topic talking about Minnesota's hockey market, but in the grand scheme of things no one can match Minnesota's superior high school hockey programs or the number of successful college hockey programs... Fans following them could have gone to more North Stars games, or more Wild games... But why if neither of those teams have anything to show for their efforts except being on the losing end of highlight reels (nationwide)?

 

Okay, back on topic now that I've eliminated any just cause that Minnesota can't be a major hockey market.

 

So in comes Craig Leipold and his new GM Chuck Fletcher. They spend money lavishly in nicely bundled retirement packages for some (players) while generating more season ticket holders - to replace the ones who got bored stiff watching totally boring hockey under the previous ownership... And when they spent money to the cap, sub-par player choices earned them a few more sellouts before more people recognized they aren't getting much for what they payed for in those newly sold out seats... So then there's more season ticket holders fleeing... While the seemingly never ending new season ticket holders simply replace the old ones.

 

So the sell outs continue.

 

Here's an analogy I made during Fletcher's 4th year as GM:

The Wild may not be winning any Conference Championships, or Division Titles, or Stanley Cups... But because of Chuck Fletcher we (Wild fans) know there's about 20 semi truck loads of Baby Jesus sweaters (a nickname for Granland) waiting in parking lots all over the Twin Cities (now if only the kid could skate instead of falling down for 20 minutes a game.) Same goes for Koivu, Parise and Suter sweaters... Who were about the ONLY names you could get on the back of sweaters back then. Harsh? Not really but marketing just those players was sickening and beyond redundant. 

 

The more drastic end of the analogy, is you could buy a Wild Door Light that illuminated the ground when you opened your car door. Oh yeah, just like calling for Batman... This lovely gadget was yet another marketing ploy to peel money out of your hands whether the Wild were winning or not!

image.png.48e398abfd07c39b5fa7e81861886ae1.png

 

Isn't it lovely? Foolish Wild fans can have one of these swell beauties and to hell with dying while waiting for a Cup.

 

There was one Wild fan in particular who badgers anyone who drags Leipold through the mud with his Cap spending... But I beg to differ that while Chuck Fletcher is a genius generating ways to make money - he's an owners dream (type GM) as opposed to a fans favorite type GM. The players love him if you're in his inner circle of input players 'core leaders' who can call him anytime they have a special request (and they get what they want) while they all trample over their head coaches or other players; just so they can have their cake and eat it too.

 

But EXCUSE ME... If a team wins a Cup money WILL follow, as well as residual income and revenue that this lowly market has no clue even exists; because they've never had one here.

 

To those who remind me of Leipold spending to the cap is cool... Where are any Wild Conference Championships? Division Titles? Presidents Cups? Stanley Cups?

 

Why do so many former North Star and Wild players reside here if they're originally from other parts of the Country? They don't have their name on the Cup, or any rings to show for it... But they're called upon to promote the team whenever they hit a dry spell.

 

There are two types of good GM's: An owners GM or a players GM. (Fletcher meets that criteria.)

 

However in my humble opinion the only GM's worth their weight are the ones who find a way to win a Stanley Cup, find a way to increase revenue, satisfy players, coaches, staff, their farm clubs, fans, keep their prospects flowing and most important find a way to get the most bang for their buck for the owners.

Edited by rottenrefs
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@rottenrefs

 

Loved your post and rant, lol. 

 

So it comes down to this in your opinion and I cannot disagree

 

A good GM wins a cup

 

A successful GM, if they win or not makes money for the owner

 

That makes perfect sense.

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First of all, Rottenrefs, nothing against you but your post is too long.  Who is going to read a post that long? Ill skim through it time permitting.  

 

I would say our GM , Botterill has done a fine job so far and he certainly robbed Carolina on that Skinner deal.  It might leave a bad taste in their mouth though and leave it not likely for them to do business with us later?

I still say Darcy Regier was a good GM.  He took us to 3 conference finals. I just cannot remember if he was there in 99 for that run?  I know after the lockout and the new uniforms came out, the Sabres came out of the gates blazing and got alot of press.  One article that I will never forget by CBS said, "you might not like the Sabres, but you have to like what they stand for".  It was about speed and talent over grab and clutch hockey. Back when we had Drury and Briere.  So mentioning them, that was a bad time when our GM allowed Drury and Briere to walk.  We still had Roy and Pommenville in their prime and of course one Ryan Miller.  But it really hurt losing Drury that year.

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@rottenrefs

 

  Ignore Junkies comment about your post being too long, lol, next time for his sake maybe you can add a few cartoon pictures to occupy him, lol

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8 hours ago, yave1964 said:

@rottenrefs

 

  Ignore Junkies comment about your post being too long, lol, next time for his sake maybe you can add a few cartoon pictures to occupy him, lol

No offense taken. It was long, really long... But half the role of a GM I didn't even cover. lol

 

-

When people look up the staff for whatever team, they open up a plethora of people that start with the owner, and right after the owner is the General Manager. From that standpoint every single person on the payroll comes after / and is ultimately managed by the GM. Sure, they have V.P.'s and such reporting to the GM that handle different aspects of running the team, but everything IMO one way or another comes across the GM's desk.

 

The NHL team, hockey operations, brand & game production, broadcasting, community relations, corporate partnerships & suites, digital & social media, fan relations, finance & accounting, human resources, information technology, legal, marketing, team foundations, retail operations, arena company, ticket operations, and all those have branches... Team dentists, team physicians, travel plans... The list goes on.

The AHL team: See above - same thing.

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Posted (edited)

@rottenrefs

 

I would like to point out one thing that makes using the Dallas/Wild comparison somewhat unfair.

 

Dallas was moved during an era where you could buy teams. It was pre-cap. Being a GM trying to build a winner with a pre-cap system is VERY different than trying to do it under the salary cap...unless you are the Golden Knights who were given WAY to much leverage as a new team entering the league. They didn't "build" anything. They were handed a situation where they had only themselves to blame if they couldn't make a competitive team within a year or three.

 

Kenny Holland was a MUCH better GM pre-cap than he has been under the cap. Yes, he succeeded at first when the cap started, but that's because his team was already built pre-cap. He has had a lot of trouble trying to rebuild it, and has repeatedly made the mistake of overpaying current players and giving to long a term to others. Of course, having an owner who was willing to spend beaucoup de bucks pre-cap made being a GM a LOT easier.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that you have to know WHEN and HOW to spend under the cap. If you can build a team from within your own system, you are probably either the Buffalo Sabres, the Edmonton Oilers, or the Toronto Maple Leafs. These teams have benefitted from sucking at the right times and, in Edmonton's case, getting lucky in the draft lottery multiple times.

 

I like how the Preds were built. I like how the Lightning were built. A lot from the inside.

 

But knowing, selectively, when to and when not to spend is key. When to cut your losses might be even more key. Even Yzerman had to deal with the Drouin situation, and I think he did it quite well. To Holland's credit, he was able to dump Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit and we've come out a better team as a result. We just discussed this in the RW forum.

 

It's not all about numbers. It is about talent evaluation and prediction. In today's cap world, this may be THE most important aspect of GM-ship. If you can't, with reasonable success rate, predict the development of talent well, you WILL SUCK as a GM.

 

I might also add balancing and timing of retaining talent vs. developing talent from within. It's tough to balance creating a team where good play is rewarded...unless everybody plays well. Because you can't afford to reward everybody. There is skill in knowing how/when to let go of older talent and replacing it with younger talent. There is error in both directions--you can try to keep older guys too long in thanks for their contributions, but you do so risking the loss of young talent. See the Detroit Red Wings of the last decade or the Chicago Blackhawks of late. OTOH, you can cut too many second-tier players too soon, and prevent your team from ever gelling. At some point ya gotta cut the cord of some players that is gonna hurt both sides some for the long-term benefit of your franchise without tarnishing the reputation of your brand. This is what Yzerman did so well.

Edited by SpikeDDS
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@SpikeDDS

 

wEISS. Alfie. Modano. Tootoo. Cole. Zidlicky. Losing Jarnkrok and Nylen for nothing. Up until this series of moves happened I was always an apologist for Holland but now, ugh.

 

  And as much as I feel we need new blood I give him credit for the past severak drafts either he or Tyler Wright, we bombed Svechnikov, right behind him went Colin White and Brock Boeser, but he has done a solid job of drafting since. I loved the Datsyuk deal when it occurred and love it more now. He seems to have hit the reset with a plan and I give him credit for that. Most GMs dont have the security to plan long term,

 

 BTW Pavel is rumbling about a one year return next season. He will be 40, still it would be fun to have a farewell tour.

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@yave1964

 

I think I jumped ship on KH a little before you did, IIRC. And the reason was that I saw that keeping the playoff streak alive was hurting the team long-term. KH, instead of giving up trying to keep the streak alive, chose to try to resuscitate what we had by adding “that one piece” to try to make us “competitive.”  Of course, that word “competitive” meant just enough to make the playoffs, the last year or two with losing records. The result was the sacrifice of five years worth of young talent for these “rentals.” When Jarnkrok went, I knew we would be regretting that in a few years.

 

I think having Datsyuk join the kids for a year would be fun. Three words for Kenny Holland though:

 

One.

Year.

Deal.

 

😉

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Posted (edited)

I was just listening to Leafs Lunch on the radio, and they were talking about the "legacy" that Fletcher left behind in Minnesota...oldest team in the league...most NTCs...zero elite prospects(only team in the NHL with no prospects at WJHC)...good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to do anything once they're there...I'm not sure what makes a great gm but I'm pretty sure it's whatever the opposite of that is. 

 

 Got me to thinking...WTF was Homer thinking when he hired this guy?

(I'll guess the interview went something like "Hey, Chuck, you want to win now?"

 "Sure"

 "You're hired")

Edited by flyercanuck
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On 12/7/2018 at 6:58 PM, yave1964 said:

IMHO a good GM

 

Makes the right personnel decisions which in todays cap era is more than just knee jerk adding a piece out of need but instead it is looking at the big picture. 

  He also is not afraid to look at his roster and say that player A is 30, a long term deal is out of the question even if he is producing and is unafraid to take a risk by making a move a year or even two early rather than locking someone up long term and regretting it with four years remaining on his deal. 

  He also drafts well. That does not mean he expects to get a McDavid at 20, but to use the Sharks as an example Wilson always seems to be bringing homegrown talent to flush out his roster. Look the Sharks roster over there are a few notable out of the organization additions such as Jones, Kane, Burns and Jumbo and now Karlsson but for the most part the players are home grown and they have had the same AHL coach for two decades which is patently unheard of but he teaches what is expected when they reach the NHL.

 He hires the right coach. He leaves him alone and allows him to do the job he is hired to do.

 

And also has the support of ownership and doesn't have owners meddling in his affairs.  

 

A long standing problem in Toronto is that the owners used to overrule the GM on trades. Obviously you can't be a successful GM in the NHL if you're not allowed to do your job.  :)

 

 

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      Post
      To answer your question, what makes a good NHL GM?   You noted player personnel wins and losses... But didn't cover anything else. Understandably, I get it, but IMO there's a ton more behind being a good GM.   Looking at it from a fan perspective player personnel is about the only thing one could care about. But from an operations standpoint, or from an owners standpoint, generating $$ is all they ever put much emphasis on. Business, or rather being a successful business equals follow the money.   Something I brought up several years ago was the Wild, under Doug Risenbrough, were an economically successful team. The team never spent to the Cap but they had sellout after sellout. Contrary to some the previous ownership claimed they were losing money. Where have we heard that with the Minnesota North Stars? Hence, they left for Dallas and won a Stanley Cup, 2 Conference Titles, 2 Presidents Trophies and 8 Division Titles... They're doing well generating revenue. They were bought for $84 million in 1995 and are now valued at $525 million. The Dallas Stars are a prime example of spending more (wisely) can create residual earnings. Which is something the Minnesota North Stars never figured out.   Insert the Minnesota Wild. So under Robert Naegele, Jr., and GM Doug Risenbrough, as mentioned they ran a tight ship on spending. Wild fans here viewed them as cheap. The results as some pride themselves as describing, they're a successful team because they've had so many sellouts in a less than desirable "Hockey Market" because everyone here keeps reminding everyone (nationally) that Minnesota isn't a very good hockey market. (That's something I totally disagree with.) Minnesota probably has more hockey pucks and hockey arena's per capita than any other state or Canadian Providence... To match it's 'Land of 10,000 Lakes' boast.   Granted, it's a bit off-topic talking about Minnesota's hockey market, but in the grand scheme of things no one can match Minnesota's superior high school hockey programs or the number of successful college hockey programs... Fans following them could have gone to more North Stars games, or more Wild games... But why if neither of those teams have anything to show for their efforts except being on the losing end of highlight reels (nationwide)?   Okay, back on topic now that I've eliminated any just cause that Minnesota can't be a major hockey market.   So in comes Craig Leipold and his new GM Chuck Fletcher. They spend money lavishly in nicely bundled retirement packages for some (players) while generating more season ticket holders - to replace the ones who got bored stiff watching totally boring hockey under the previous ownership... And when they spent money to the cap, sub-par player choices earned them a few more sellouts before more people recognized they aren't getting much for what they payed for in those newly sold out seats... So then there's more season ticket holders fleeing... While the seemingly never ending new season ticket holders simply replace the old ones.   So the sell outs continue.   Here's an analogy I made during Fletcher's 4th year as GM: The Wild may not be winning any Conference Championships, or Division Titles, or Stanley Cups... But because of Chuck Fletcher we (Wild fans) know there's about 20 semi truck loads of Baby Jesus sweaters (a nickname for Granland) waiting in parking lots all over the Twin Cities (now if only the kid could skate instead of falling down for 20 minutes a game.) Same goes for Koivu, Parise and Suter sweaters... Who were about the ONLY names you could get on the back of sweaters back then. Harsh? Not really but marketing just those players was sickening and beyond redundant.    The more drastic end of the analogy, is you could buy a Wild Door Light that illuminated the ground when you opened your car door. Oh yeah, just like calling for Batman... This lovely gadget was yet another marketing ploy to peel money out of your hands whether the Wild were winning or not!   Isn't it lovely? Foolish Wild fans can have one of these swell beauties and to hell with dying while waiting for a Cup.   There was one Wild fan in particular who badgers anyone who drags Leipold through the mud with his Cap spending... But I beg to differ that while Chuck Fletcher is a genius generating ways to make money - he's an owners dream (type GM) as opposed to a fans favorite type GM. The players love him if you're in his inner circle of input players 'core leaders' who can call him anytime they have a special request (and they get what they want) while they all trample over their head coaches or other players; just so they can have their cake and eat it too.   But EXCUSE ME... If a team wins a Cup money WILL follow, as well as residual income and revenue that this lowly market has no clue even exists; because they've never had one here.   To those who remind me of Leipold spending to the cap is cool... Where are any Wild Conference Championships? Division Titles? Presidents Cups? Stanley Cups?   Why do so many former North Star and Wild players reside here if they're originally from other parts of the Country? They don't have their name on the Cup, or any rings to show for it... But they're called upon to promote the team whenever they hit a dry spell.   There are two types of good GM's: An owners GM or a players GM. (Fletcher meets that criteria.)   However in my humble opinion the only GM's worth their weight are the ones who find a way to win a Stanley Cup, find a way to increase revenue, satisfy players, coaches, staff, their farm clubs, fans, keep their prospects flowing and most important find a way to get the most bang for their buck for the owners.
    • 2
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      Ron Hextall was let go by the Flyers who grew impatient with his stay the course mentality and replaced with a GM who in his previous job went for the home run on a regular basis and sometimes it worked, other times it didn't in his stay with the Wild. Fans in here for the most part seem upset with the choice of Chuck Fletcher and are sitting poised with their finger on the keyboard ready to rip away when/if he makes his first major move. A lot of the same fans have been critical of Hextall for the opposite, refusing to make a move. Overall it has brought a question to my mind:    WHAT MAKES A GOOD/SUCCESFUL GM IN THE NHL?     The two part, good and successful can be construed as mutually exclusive of each other, to be successful you have to win a cup or turn a team around. To be good, well that is subjective.     I am a lifelong Wings fan and have been hyper critical of GM Kenny Holland and the way that he allowed the Wings to slip off the mountain, falling down one rung at a time from Cup winner (08) to finalist (09) to contender (three or four more years) to lower end playoff team and finally into irrelevancy. During that time he signed his boys to long term deals and made some of the worst free agent signings ever in aging slugs like Modano, Alfredsson, Tootoo and Weiss who all had their moment of brilliance elsewhere but none with the Wings. It was like being in a car sliding on ice towards another vehicle knowing the inevitable collision was impossible to avoid. His draft record has been spotty but good in recent years, he missed badly on Svechnikov choosing him over Boeser who went a few picks later but the roster is dotted with kids with talent and there is a second wave on its way. Nonetheless IMHO he needs a gold watch and sent on his merry way.     A bad GM, how to define that.... I know this sounds like sacrilidge to many but one of the worst in recent memory is Lou Lamoriello who like Holland won cups a couple of decades ago but since then in his tenure with the Devils did a dreadful job drafting for a decade, I mean, he missed every single year for a decade. His capology was wretched, he overpaid for some, lost others for nothing, he got by strictly on reputation and with a miracle fluky year from Brodeur and Kovie made it to an undeserved final in 2011. He was the GM in Toronto for five minutes but he inherited a stacked roster and truth is it is the Shanny and Babs show at least until Dubas got the nod. Now he is running the Islanders and traded for and signed every hard checking non scoring forward in the league.     A good GM, Yzerman comes to mind, he always figured out a way to retain the players who he wanted. He screwed up the Callahan trade but learned and played hardball with guys like Dotchin and Drouin making it clear that it is a privilege to play in Tampa. Murray in Anaheim always drafts well in spite of usually drafting 25th or so and makes smart hockey moves. Same can be said for the Sharks Doug Wilson. Cheveldayoff has drafted well and in spite of playing in the barren wasteland has most of his players happy or at least content to play there.     IMHO a good GM   Makes the right personnel decisions which in todays cap era is more than just knee jerk adding a piece out of need but instead it is looking at the big picture.    He also is not afraid to look at his roster and say that player A is 30, a long term deal is out of the question even if he is producing and is unafraid to take a risk by making a move a year or even two early rather than locking someone up long term and regretting it with four years remaining on his deal.    He also drafts well. That does not mean he expects to get a McDavid at 20, but to use the Sharks as an example Wilson always seems to be bringing homegrown talent to flush out his roster. Look the Sharks roster over there are a few notable out of the organization additions such as Jones, Kane, Burns and Jumbo and now Karlsson but for the most part the players are home grown and they have had the same AHL coach for two decades which is patently unheard of but he teaches what is expected when they reach the NHL.  He hires the right coach. He leaves him alone and allows him to do the job he is hired to do.   IMHO a bad GM    Makes panic moves trading futures without properly utilization. Holland for example when the Wings were trying to stay relevant in their series of first round wipeouts traded guys like Nylen and Janmark who are capable third liners who can play up a line if needed for five minutes of Legwand and Eric Cole. Nylen and Janmark will be NHLers a decade after both the others are long gone from the game.     He meddles with coaching. He sides with the players against his coach.    He overpays for the back end of his players careers. The Hawks are in cap hell with five guys eating over half of their cap, the league is dotted with damn good players who they have been forced to move on from and the Hawks are incapble of being competitive because of that.  In Chicago's case I would say that Bowman is A PERFECT EXAMPLE of a successful GM who won cups but not a good GM as the team is ruined because of his refusal to face reality and making poor roster decisions.     So there are GM's who constantly tinker (Jim Nill) those who sit pat and allow the team to grow from within (Chevy) those who understand the cap better than others and make it work for them (Poile in Nashville) those that go down in Flames going for the homerun when it implodes around them (Blake with the Kings signing Kovie, Armstrong with the Blues adding O'Reilly, Maroon, Bozak and Perron) those who sit back and wait for the other guy to make a panic move and swoop in (Shero with the Pens with Kessel, Schultz, Hornqvist, too many to count really).      So I started this and I am no closer to answering it even for myself. Go into any fan website, ANY at all, even the best teams in the game such as Tampa and Nashville and you will find fans demanding their GM's head. There are those in Toronto after the Nylander fiasco/sago who will say that boy wonder GM was/is over his head and out of his depth literally just three months after they were ready to put his face on currency for signing Tavares. So maybe being a good/successful GM only goes as far as your last transaction in the same way that being a good goalie is defined by your last start or even your last save.     So there it is. Help me out, what is your definition of a good GM? Or a successful one? Is that the same thing?
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      Because of one main reason.   Always a bridesmaid never a bride will get folks to call for your head...so yeah as you said they are like many teams it is qualified by Cups nothing more...it is the only thing that matters.   There is no exact science to it.   I mean since i can't remember when i think 2007 with the Ducks it's been in no particular order: Pens, Blackhawks, Bruins, Wings, Kings who have won it all till the recent Caps (finally themselves).   The rest is fluff.   Maybe one day before I die I will see one hoisted in Philly I sure hope so.   And to answer your question what makes a good GM I will let you know when if ever the Flyers get one...  
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      @rottenrefs     Ignore Junkies comment about your post being too long, lol, next time for his sake maybe you can add a few cartoon pictures to occupy him, lol
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      I was just listening to Leafs Lunch on the radio, and they were talking about the "legacy" that Fletcher left behind in Minnesota...oldest team in the league...most NTCs...zero elite prospects(only team in the NHL with no prospects at WJHC)...good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to do anything once they're there...I'm not sure what makes a great gm but I'm pretty sure it's whatever the opposite of that is.     Got me to thinking...WTF was Homer thinking when he hired this guy? (I'll guess the interview went something like "Hey, Chuck, you want to win now?"  "Sure"  "You're hired")
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      @rottenrefs   Loved your post and rant, lol.    So it comes down to this in your opinion and I cannot disagree   A good GM wins a cup   A successful GM, if they win or not makes money for the owner   That makes perfect sense.

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