It’s funny. Last summer I had a much easier time giving former Flames GM Darryl Sutter The Worst GM In Hockey Award. Sutter presided over one of the worst farm systems in the league, he had handed out more no-movement clauses than any other GM in the game, and he sent his organization back years when he traded franchise defensemen, Dion Phaneuf to Toronto without receiving a single prospect or draft pick in return.
As it turns out, Calgary’s ownership didn’t disagree with me. Sutter “stepped down” last December.
This summer has been a different story. Not because there have been any shortage of dumb moves, but because there were so many GM’s that made risky trades and financially unsound signings, it’s hard to pick just one guy. So this year I am going to do things a little differently. Rather than anoint the worst GM in hockey myself, I am going to let you decide.
Let’s look at the candidates.
Dale Tallon – Florida Panthers
Tallon is an interesting character. Out in Chicago everyone credits him for being the architect of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup Championship team. On the other hand he got blamed for their dismantling due to bad contracts. He was also fired that off-season for not submitting offers to their restricted free agents before the deadline, which cost the organization millions.
Of course this post is about what he’s done in Miami, which has been under scrutiny by the 26 people who go to Panthers games.
Tallon signed Tomas Fleischmann – a guy who scored 23 goals once – to a 4 year/$4.5 million per year contract. He also gave the enigmatic forward a no-movement clause. Tallon then traded for Brian Campbell, the most overpaid defensemen in the league ($7.1 mill per until 2016), and he signed oft injured Ed Jovanovski to a 4 year deal worth $16.5 million. Jovanovski signed this contract at age 35, meaning his cap-hit will remain for the next 4 years regardless of what happens to his position on the roster.
But hey, at least they gave up picks for Kris Versteeg!
Chuck Fletcher – Minnesota Wild
There is no franchise that disappoints me more than the Minnesota Wild. They play in arguably the best hockey market in the country, yet year in and year out they play .500 hockey, despite an abundance of resources. This summer they finally got aggressive, and to say the moves they made were risky is an understatement.
Fletcher traded Martin Havlat for Dany Heatley. On paper this seems like a fairly even swap. However, Heatley’s cap-hit is for $7.5 million vs. Havlat’s who’s cap-hit comes in at $5M. Plus there is also the fact that Heatley burns through coaches and organizations like Amy Winehouse burned through an eight ball of…yea you’re right, too soon.
Fletch also traded away all-star defensemen Brent Burns (he of 17 goals) to San Jose for Devin Setoguchi. Sure Seto scored 31 goals in 2009, his second year in the league, but he’s average 20 goals and 39 points since then. A change of scenery may help the kid, but do you really give up one of the best offensive defensemen in the game for a guy who needs a change of scenery?
What may save this trade and ultimately Fletcher’s rear-end, is that he managed to also get Sharks prospect/B.U. sophomore Charlie Coyle and a 1st round pick (Zack Phillips), while giving up just a 2nd rounder.
Paul Holmgren - Philadelphia Flyers
Paul Holmgren is either a genius or a fool. There’s no middle ground when you trade your 26 year old franchise player (Mike Richards) and turn the team over to a 37 year old (Chris Pronger). It’s a ballsy move. Trading one dimensional sniper, Jeff Carter to Columbus was probably the right move. But missing out on Tomas Vokoun, who signed with the Caps for 1 year/$1.5 mill, makes the 9 year contract Philly gave to Ilya Bryzgalov look silly. Especially since Vokoun is a much better goalie than Bryz.
Greg Sherman – Colorado Avalanche***
Sorry folks, I forgot to add this bum (I write these posts at like 1-2am). Thanks to our readers for pointing it out.
Sherman traded away Chris Stewart, a rare combo of goal scoring ability and size along with Kevin Shattenkirk and a conditional second round pick, to the St. Louis Blues for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a conditional first round pick.
Still that trade wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the move for Capital’s goalie Semyon Varlamov, whom he traded for with a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-rounder in 2012 or 2013. Varlamov is mediocre at best.
I was going to nominate Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators, another team that just can’t ever put it together, but they finally woke the f- up and started to rebuild this past year. Somehow Murray got a 1st round pick for Mr. Carrie Underwood (aka Mike Fischer) and a 2nd round pick for Chris Kelly. So he escaped being branded for now…
Anyway, feel free to disagree. The choice is ultimately yours people, so let’s put one of these guys in The Sin Bin…