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Ranking the GMs

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The Hockey News GM Ranking came out this week. I had big plans to write up comments about each GM, but I may save that for the off-season. Personally, I think that they got a few of in the wrong spot.

In the old days some GMs had huge advantages over other GMs, so it was more difficult to evaluate them. Now the playing field is much more level. I asked myself this basic question: Which team's GM (or GMs) have done the best job of producing wins in the salary cap era? Who has done the best job when you look at both last season, this current season and the playoffs combined. So I simply added up all the regular and postseason wins of each franchise since the lockout ended. Some people might argue that post-season wins should count double, but I wanted to keep it simple. Besides, the list is tightly packed enough that if your teams reaches the SC Finals it will push that GM up the list significantly.

So below I have ranked each team by combined post-lockout wins and then I listed The Hockey News ranking after the team name. (note: THN is only ranking current GMs while I look at the entire post-lockout period.)

107 Wins: #1 Darcy Regier, Buffalo 4 (in the Hockey News Ranking)
102 Wins #2 Ken Holland Detroit 1
101 Wins #3 Jim Rutherford, Carolina 5
95 Wins #4 John Muckler, Ottawa 14
94 Wins #5 David Poile, Nashville 7
92 Wins #6 Doug Armstrong, Dallas 20
92 Wins #7 Brian Burke, Anaheim 3
91 Wins #8 Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey 2
90 Wins #9 Doug Wilson, San Jose 10
86 Wins #10 Kevin Lowe, Edmonton 11

Strong post-seasons by Carolina and Edmonton move their GMs up near the top (Rutherford) or into the top 10 (Lowe). Holland and Poile would rank much higher if their teams hadn't bombed in the playoffs last year.

85 Wins #11 Darryl Sutter, Calgary 8
82 Wins #12 Jay Feaster, Tampa Bay 6
81 Wins #13 David Nonis, Vancouver 13
81 Wins #14 Pierre Lacoix/Francois Giguere, Colorado 27
76 Wins #15 Don Waddell, Atlanta 19
76 Wins #16 Bob Gainey, Montreal 15
76 Wins #17 Glen Sather, N.Y. Rangers 24
74 Wins #18 Doug Risebrough, Minnesota 9
73 Wins #19 John Ferguson, Toronto 22
69 Wins #20 Garth Snow, N.Y. Islanders 16

The Middle Class of the GMs. Most of these teams will make the playoffs one out of the two post-lockout season but not both (Calgary is the exception). Atlanta's own Don Waddell is right in the middle of the pack.

65 Wins #21 Bobby Clarke/Paul Holmgren, Philadelphia 12
65 Wins #22 Mike Barnett, Phoenix 28
64 Wins #23 Dave Taylor/Dean Lombardi, Los Angeles 21
64 Wins #24 Mike Keenan/Jacques Martin, Florida 26
62 Wins #25 Doug MacLean, Columbus 29
61 Wins #26 Mike O'Connell/Peter Chiarelli, Boston 25
58 Wins #27 Craig Patrick/Ray Shero, Pittsburgh 17
53 Wins #28 George McPhee, Washington 23
51 Wins #29 Bob Pulford/Dale Tallon, Chicago 18
49 Wins #30 Larry Pleau, St. Louis 30

Many of these teams have not achieved on-ice success and thus have fired their GM, so this is a joint effort on the part of many of them. The fact that Dave Taylor was fired and Mike Barnett and Doug MacLean still hold jobs is proof that the world is not a just place. Of course some of these teams are not trying to win now (St. Louis and Washington I'm looking at you) so wins probably isn't the best criteria for evaluating their GMs.

So where are the biggest differences between the combined wins list and The Hockey News list? Using the wins criteria it would seem that Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Chicago are overrated by THN and Dallas, Colorado are underrated.