Best Executive in NHL History?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by KH1, May 22, 2005.

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  1. KH1

    KH1 Registered User

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    GMs frequently go unnoticed when you look back on hockey history, so I pose this simple question: Who was the best NHL executive ever?

    I have to put in a vote for Bill Torrey, the man who constructed the Islanders dynasty team. His team has skill, grit--it could play the game any way you wanted, and it was constructed through smart drafting and a few excellent trades (the Goring deal immediately comes to mind.)
     
  2. Habsfan 32

    Habsfan 32 Registered User

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    Mike Milbury :sarcasm:
     
  3. pnep

    pnep Registered User

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    Glen Sather? :biglaugh:

    GM --- PO Wins
    ====================
    Sather Glen --- 133
    Sinden Harry --- 127
    Clarke Bob --- 121
    Torrey Bill --- 119
    Pollock Sam --- 116
    Adams Jack --- 110
    Lamoriello Lou --- 107
    Patrick Craig --- 104
    Savard Serge --- 94
    Smythe Conn --- 94
    Lacroix Pierre --- 89
    Selke Frank --- 89
    Fletcher Cliff --- 86
    Pulford Bob --- 82
    Ivan Tommy --- 75
    Allen Keith --- 71
    Imlach Punch --- 65
    Quinn Pat --- 64

    GM --- PO Win-Lose Dif.
    =====================
    Pollock Sam --- +70 :bow: :bow:
    Sather Glen --- +54
    Torrey Bill --- +42
    Savard Serge --- +30
    Lacroix Pierre --- +28
    Selke Frank --- +25
    Lamoriello Lou --- +23
    Clarke Bob --- +19
    Devellano Jim --- +16
    Holland Ken --- +16
     
  4. Heat McManus

    Heat McManus Registered User

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    I'd give it to Bill Torrey, then Lou Lamoriello (Everybody's gotta be a homer sometimes). Then maybe, maybe Sather.
     
  5. NYIsles1*

    NYIsles1* Guest

    I do not know about Sam Pollock, I do know the Habs had territorial rights to prospects which many gm's never had as an advantage. Lamoriello is an amazing executive and Sather must be acknowledge for assembling an incredible Oilers team.

    Bill Torrey took an expansion team and within three years it went as far the
    semi-finals in nine out of ten years in hockey's best conference in that era. No hockey team has matched that sustained dominance or it's records since. I have never seen the working relationship and chemistry in any organization as Torrey-Arbour brought.

    Torrey left the Isles in 92 with an abundance of talent. Drafting Palffy, Malakhov, Kasparaitis. All the next gm's had to do was build around his trade for Turgeon, Thomas, Hogue. Ferraro and they likely would have won another cup.
    What also stands out about Torrey is his work in Florida. He took a second team in only it's third year to a final.
     
  6. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    Maybe another GM's as good as Pollock, but there's been nobody better. His disciples have been the most successful executives after working with him. He was the model for hockey executives for a generation.
     
  7. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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  8. Yammer

    Yammer Registered User

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    They always say Sam Pollock. I might be overly influenced by Dryden's book but the cagey GM is said to have been a master accumulator of players and coaches (and players who turned into coaches). The deal with the Seals to get Lafleur is usually noted.

    Because he is active, it is hard to get a historical perspective on Lou Lamoriello. He might be the greatest when all is said and done.

    But what do you think of the financial aspects of his reign? On one hand, the rink is often 5000 under capacity, so that could be deemed a failure. On the other hand, the resultant budget limit makes the successes seem even greater.

    Not only does the team win, he's actually keeps pivotal players around -- notably Stevens and Brodeur on the ice, David Conte off of it.
     
  9. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    My vote goes to Sammy Pollock.

    Conn Smythe, Lester Patrick, Jack Adams and Art Ross would also get serious consideration.

    While Adams often is remebered as coach and he is in the HHOF as a player he was the GM of the Red Wings for 15 years from 1947 when the Red Wings won seven consecutive regular-season championships, from 1949 through 1955, and another in 1957. They won the Stanley Cup in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955.

    In more recent times you would have to consider Bill Torrey (his only black marks were starting his NHL management career with the Oakland Seals and that bow tie) and Keith Allan.

    Lou Lamoriello would be my pick of active NHL executives.
     
  10. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Clarke built the majority of the team in Florida.
     
  11. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    What, no mentions of Brian Burke? :sarcasm:

    Pollock is the stock answer for good reason.
     
  12. hfboardsuser

    hfboardsuser Registered User

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    Hey, as the saying goes, he built two great future dynasties.... for Florida and Ottawa.
     
  13. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    I agree, Pollock. Not only for his wheeling and dealing, but for holding firm against the WHA player-raiding and payscale with regards to his players. Not only that but he manged to re-stock the teams while they were winning, as opposed to going on a run, blowing it up and rebuilding. But Trader Sam will always be known for his drafts. High or low he found the talent. The 70s team was built with 4 trades. Every other member of that team was drafted. (With no help from the territory rule which had expired in 1969)

    Frank Selke should probably get a mention here too as the Habs were in utter disarray when he first arrived. He was also the creator of the farm system all across Canada which fed the NHL with some of its greatest players be that Montreal Canadiens or not, odds are they played for Father Frank. His best story is that he had to buy an entire league to secure Jean Beliveau.

    Of the modern ones Lamoriello impresses me the most. Again the hardest thing to do in sports is to remold your team while you're winning without losing momentum. He's been able to do that. Lacroix was on that path, but got greedy and emptied the cupboard in the process. Cliff Fletcher is another who has built some nice teams and time will tell on Bob Gainey. Certainly Ken Holland deserves a mention, and come to think of it should be up there with Lamoriello.
     
  14. Steveorama

    Steveorama Registered User

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    Sam Pollock is number one, no question.
    Torrey and Lamoriello are/were amazing, but Sam Pollock's ability to win trades was unmatched. He also knew how to hire scouts who could pick winners.
     
  15. I go with Sam Pollock also. All those cups it was amazing. Like 15 cups in 24 years its hard to imagine.
     
  16. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Sather was great in Edmonton during the 80s. He won every trade and made some great draft picks. Grabbing MacTavish on waivers - while MacT was serving a year in prision - was an example of Sather's shrewdness.

    In his old age he has certainly lost it.
     
  17. KH1

    KH1 Registered User

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    I do have to give him a slight pass with the Ranger$ though. I would probably end up in jail for murder if I had to work for Jim Dolan.
     
  18. Lowetide

    Lowetide Registered User

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    Post expansion, you'd have to give strong consideration to Pollock, Torrey, Sather, Lou and I would add Cliff Fletcher.

    You could write a great book about all of the terrific executives that came out of the 1967 expansion. Fletcher was in St. Louis with Lynn Patrick and Scotty Bowman, Torrey was in Oakland with Bert Olmstead, Keith Allen was in Philadelphia with Bud Poile, it goes on and on.
     
  19. mr gib

    mr gib Registered User

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    pollock - slam dunk
     
  20. salzy

    salzy Registered User

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    Holland tops my list - of most over rated.
     
  21. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Holland is good, but he inherited a team that already won the cup. Best today I say Lou Lam followed by Lacroix.
     
  22. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    I disagree. Unlike Lacroix he has mixed in some very skilled youth with his veterans; and he's kept his picks and used them well drafting consistently near the bottom of the first round. And unlike Sather he has used his money very wisely. He's concentrated on chemistry over big names and has been able to stand up and let a player walk instead of giving in and signing a blank check. (Federov and Lapointe) Despite significant player turnover he's kept the Wings at a very competitive level. Yes he has money, but he's used it well to get players who suit the Wings; not the other way round.

    I'm no Wings fan, but you have to respect what he's done when so many other GMs with money to spend (Toronto, Philadelphia, St. Louis and the Rangers) haven't even come close to duplicating his success.
     
  23. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Tanguay, Aebischer, Liles, Vaananen :dunno:
    Since 1997 the Wings have picked in the 1st round only twice
    Well there was Krupp
    Well the 2002 shopping spree and the 1999 deadline spre that yeilded Chelios
    If you're comparing him to Lacroix the Avs have had much more roster turnover that the Wings in that span
    Can't argue there, the Rangers waste money, the Wings spend to good effect converseley Lamerielo is cheap and effective while Jacobs/Sinden/O'Connel lose because of their parsimony
     
  24. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    Good points.

    Unless I'm mistaken though, the Wings still have a decent crop of prospects while the Avs look a little thin in that department right now. That's more what I was referring to. You are absolutely right about the young guys on the Avs although the Drury deal still stings a bit.

    I thought they kept more picks than that. I stand corrected. However, if you're still finding talent like the Wings have outside the first round... that's impressive.

    If one guy is the only extravagence on your resume in the NHL that's not bad. And Krupp was a valuable player at the time. Only after his injury did he really decline. It was seen as a good deal that only looks bad in hindsight.

    Yet Chelios has fit with the team very well. I would argue the Hatcher signing was worse, but by and large he plugs a defenceman in and it works. Past-his-prime Coffey worked, Schneider worked. Even Cujo wasn't a bad pickup and played well. The ensuing soap opera with Hasek is a black spot though.

    A lot of the Avs turnover was Lacroix's own doing though. Free agency wise I don't remember the Avs getting crunched any worse than the Wings. As the teams have gotten older both guys have mixed it up pretty good. Maybe the difference is as slim as scouting and a couple of bad deals.
     
  25. Hasbro

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    Yeah we're all pretty bitter bout that. I think our extinction is exagerated.


    really both teams have mined the late rounds well and late first round on occasion. It somehow just recently became a talking point that the Avs couldn't draft.

    Well last season Hasek flamed out, the jury is still out on Hatcher, they literaly couldn't give CuJo away and I've heard complaints about Devareaux
    Strange thing is he suffered his injuries largely as a result of the Red Wings. Lapointe tore his ACL in 95 and he threw his back out fighting Pushor in 97.

    Yeah Chelios was pretty good, but he was with Samuelson, Clark, Ranford
    Might turn out well I think he'll just be a bit over prised when it's said and done
    IIRC Coffey was traded in 96-97 for Shanahan before Holland was GM
    True dat
    CuJo probably shouldered too much blame for the loss the Anahiem, but I've alway felt he's a bit overrated.

    This is something Avs fans take great exception to, The Rag$ hit us hard. When the team was still playing in McNichols and cash poor the Rangers stepped in with their offersheet and $15 million signing bonus that the Avs had to match. The Rangers immediately signed Keane to a inflated contract out of spite. Lacroix also had to trade some guys like Ricci to hold out until the Pepsi Center got built and ownership sorted out. Since then the Rangers have raided the middle of our roster like clockwork. Lefevre, Kamensky, Fleury, Kasparitus, DeVries, Bryan Trotier off our bench. The only big one I remember them passing up were Klemm and Krupp.

    Fair assesment.

    What compliactes the matter with Holland is that he shouldered alot of GM responcibilities when Bowman was the nominal GM and when Holland took the title Bowman was certainly no subordinate and deffinately had alot of say in presonel matters. Where does Holland's influence begin?
     
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