For several years running we’ve been nominating certain individuals as the “worst GM in the NHL,” as defined by team performance, bad trades and lackluster free agent signings. Last season’s award went to Scott Howson, who has since been fired by Columbus.
Going a bit further back, 2011’s award went to Paul Holmgren, who still holds his post in Philadelphia…for now. 2010’s award went to Darryl Sutter, who was fired shortly thereafter by the Flames. Past nominees include Brian Burke (fired by Toronto), Pierre Gauthier (fired by Montreal) and Garth Snow, among others.
So while these posts are meant to be fun and get us through the dog says of summer, in reality, the nominations really haven’t been too far off.
This year’s post includes returning nominees in Greg Sherman and Dale Tallon, and one newbie in Darcy Regier. Here’s the skinny on all three:
Greg Sherman – Colorado Avalanche
Sherman probably has my vote as the league’s worst GM. He’s been at the helm since 2009 and in that time he’s failed to rebuild a once proud franchise and failed to get this team out of the basement of the Western Conference. Originally nominated two years ago, Sherman has put plenty of head scratchers on his resume.
He sent a young, talented powerforward in Chris Stewart + Kevin Shattenkirk (offensive d-man) and a conditional second round pick to STL for Jay McClement (since signed with the Leafs), a conditional first round pick and Erik Johnson. Johnson, taken first overall in 2006, put up 4 points last season and is entering bust territory. Sherman also traded a first and second round pick for Capital’s castoff Semyon Varlamov, who had a GAA last year over 3.00.
Since those trades, Sherman hasn’t done much to improve their holes except fire Joe Sacco, which was first announced on Twitterd. This past year ownership hired Avalanche legends Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy. Sakic is in the front office and Patrick Roy is the new head coach. I think it’s safe to say Sherman’s days are numbered with those two onboard.
Dale Tallon – Florida Panthers
Tallon has been one of the more active GMs in the league in recent years handing out big contracts to Tomas Fleischmann and Ed Jovanovski and trading for overpaid players like Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg. With two last place finishes under his belt in three years of running the show, all that activity hasn’t added up to much.
After making the playoffs last season, many thought the Panthers were on the rise, but another last place finish this past year killed whatever enthusiasm that small fan base had left in the tank. Though the Scott Gomez and Matt Gilroy signings this summer could really provide a spark!
Unfortunately, this is a make or break year for the Panthers. South Florida is one of the worst sports markets in the country. There isn’t a whole lot of loyalty among their fans and unless you’re winning championships, there isn’t much monetary support either. The Dolphins, Marlins, and even the Heat have all had trouble selling tickets during lackluster seasons.
With so many bad contracts on that roster (ah Scottie Upshall has an NMC?), and an unwillingness from ownership to buy out a Versteeg or a Fleischmann contract, Tallon may have dug his own grave a bit here. Enjoy Seattle.
Darcy Regier – Buffalo Sabres
Darcy Regier is tied for 3rd among longest reigning GMs in the NHL. For a guy who’s managed the Sabres since ’97 and is in the company of Ken Holland, Sather, and Lou, you’d expect quite the resume. However, after all of those years, the Sabres have had very little postseason success. For a while, I felt bad for Regier. Reporting to bad owners who never give you the budget to resign guys like Drury, Briere, Campbell, etc. is a tough pill to swallow.
Of course, Regier is now blessed with plenty of cash to throw around. The past few years Terry Pegula has written a few blank checks for Darcy. He wasted 6 years, $27M on 1 hit wonder Ville Leino, who has 10 goals since signing two years ago. He also gave a 30 year old Christian Ehrhoff 10 years, $40M and a NMC. This past year he was able to unload a bunch of secondary players for draft picks, but if you’re going to rebuild, more fat will have to be trimmed.
It will be interesting to watch the Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek situations. Both guys are in contract years and likely headed to contenders next July. With little chance at competing this year, you would think how he plays those cards could ultimately decide his own fate.
So that’s my take, who’s your pick?
Other guys I left off the list, but could be on the block next year include George McPhee, Paul Holmgren, Chuck Fletcher, Jay Feaster and Garth Snow if Wang ever gets his head out of his ass.