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More than anyone else, NHL general managers control the record of their teams.  They decide on the on-ice roster, they choose coaches, they hire and fire scouts, trainers and control the destiny of virtually every employee on the hockey operations side of an NHL franchise.

Each manager has different circumstances; some inherit Sidney Crosby while others have to rebuild a destitute team, some are blessed with the authority to spend to the salary cap every year while others have to make every penny count.  That said, the most important thing in assessing a general manager is his team’s win/loss record.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a chart showing the 30 NHL general managers and their win/loss record with their current team.  I’ve ranked them by winning percentage, using the following formula:

Winning Percentage = (Wins + Ties/2) / Total Games

Shootout and overtime losses are counted as losses by this measure, and have no positive impact on winning percentage.  This was necessary for accurate measurement, since some general managers were running teams back when losing games in overtime didn’t earn any points, and besides it makes the 0.500 mark more meaningful.  Please note: general manager records are just with their current team, meaning that while Brian Burke had a great track record with Vancouver and Anaheim, his place on this list is determined solely by his record with Toronto.

Name Team All-Time Record Winning Percentage
Ken Holland Detroit 588-324-72 0.634
Stan Bowman Chicago 52-30 0.634
Doug Wilson San Jose 291-189-12 0.604
Mike Gillis Vancouver 94-70 0.573
Lou Lamoriello New Jersey 873-630-179 0.572
Ray Shero Pittsburgh 186-142 0.567
Darryl Sutter Calgary 219-184-7 0.543
Darcy Regier Buffalo 483-423-78 0.530
Greg Sherman Colorado 43-39 0.524
Larry Pleau St. Louis 428-400-74 0.516
Peter Chiarelli Boston 168-160 0.512
Don Maloney Phoenix 124-122 0.504
George McPhee Washington 458-457-69 0.501
Bryan Murray Ottawa 123-123 0.500
Pierre Gauthier Montreal 11-11 0.500
Bob Murray Anaheim 72-75 0.490
Jim Rutherford Carolina 527-558-111 0.487
David Poile Nashville 364-396-60 0.480
Glen Sather N.Y. Rangers 337-375-26 0.474
Chuck Fletcher Minnesota 38-44 0.463
Paul Holmgren Philadelphia 148-172 0.463
Joe Nieuwendyk Dallas 37-45 0.451
Scott Howson Columbus 107-139 0.435
Dean Lombardi Los Angeles 139-189 0.424
Garth Snow N.Y. Islanders 135-193 0.412
Brian Burke Toronto 56-85 0.397
Steve Tambellini Edmonton 65-99 0.396
Randy Sexton Florida 32-50 0.390

 

Tampa Bay has yet to name a general manager, while Rick Dudley was named earlier this summer in Atlanta, but his team has yet to play any games.

Lots of surprises on this list, at least for me (did you know that Jim Rutherford has been the Sporting News’ executive of the year twice?) and I’ll be going into ranking NHL G.M.’s a little later on, but I wanted to briefly make a few points about the list above.

  • Larry Pleau has transferred a lot of his duties over to the Blues’ president, John Davidson, but he’s been credited with the Blues’ record over his entire time as G.M.
  • Obviously, Pierre Gauthier is mostly playing with the hand he was dealt by Bob Gainey.
  • Paul Holmgren only has a losing record because he took over as G.M. eight games into the 2006-07 season, a debacle that saw both coach Ken Hitchcock and long-time G.M. Bobby Clarke leave the organization.  If we remove that season from consideration, his winning percentage jumps to 0.516.