A lot of things are easy to quantify in hockey – Steven Stamkos is a good goal scorer because he scores a lot of goals. This is not a subjective opinion, that is just a thing that is. Grading General Managers, however…well that’s not so easy.
So, for our purposes today, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to call attention to the teams who currently have the most good deals on their books (no matter how they acquired them), because accomplishing that is an art. We always hear about all the terrible deals around the NHL, and about all the overpaid players, but forget that some teams are out there doing it right.
…For the most part.
Almost every GM has made some gross misstep along the way, so it’s impossible to call anyone infallible, but as things currently sit, a few teams are in pretty darn good shape. Let’s show them some love. (Oh, and a note: the numbers shown are they players’ cap hits, not their real-dollar salaries for the year.)
(Note: not having Mike Gillis on this list – from the Sedins, to Burrows, to Hansen to Higgins – was a regrettable oversight. Dean Lombardi didn’t get included because hey, gotta draw the line somewhere, and I don’t care for a deal or three of the Kings.)
GM: Paul Holmgren
Cost: #1 – NHL’s highest payroll (no space under the cap)
Well, rough start. But hear me out.
Paul Holmgren takes a lot of s***. He got rid of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, then they won a Cup. He used that cap room to get Ilya Bryzgalov, who then proceeded to suck. He traded James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn, and JVR’s recent success hasn’t looked great on him (though Schenn is secretly having a pretty decent season).
But on the other hand, he also has some real talent under extremely reasonable, and in some cases ridiculously good contracts. Consider:
Claude Giroux was signed as a restricted free agent which leaves you with little bargaining power, but still: he’s making $3.75 million this year and next to be the team’s captain, face of the franchise, and leading point-getter.
But wait: he’s actually not the leading point-getter right now (go ahead, gasp). That’d be Jakub Voracek, who’s making $4.25 mill (through 2016). He’s got 25 points in 23 games, good for (T)7th in the NHL. Other deals of note: Read the rest of this entry »