While much of the spotlight is on Paul MacLean and the tremendous job he has done behind the Ottawa Senators’ bench this season, the job MacLean’s boss has done is being largely ignored by those outside of the Ottawa bubble.
Case in point, the NHL.com weekly feature, 8 Debate. This is a series of articles where the site polled 10 NHL writers and television personalities to list their top 8 in a number of categories. This week it was the top 8 general managers in the league.
Now in fairness, the voting was done mid-February and they have rolled out the results weekly, and have just gotten around to the GM feature. However, even back in mid-February, how many of the 10 voters to you think mentioned Murray in their top 8?
How about 0?
Really? The man who tore down a team that was handed to him and rebuilt them into a playoff team in less than a year can’t get a single vote? Let alone the fact that he rebuilt an empty system and stocked his organization with enough talent to win the Calder Cup two seasons ago.
For brevity’s sake, here is the top 8 from the NHL.com list:
- Ken Holland, DET
- Lou Lamoriello, NJ
- Peter Chiarelli, BOS
- David Poile, NSH
- Ray Shero, PIT
- Dean Lombardi, LA
- Don Maloney, PHX
- Doug Armstrong, STL
I can’t really argue with many of the names on that list. They have all been in their jobs for a long time and have had, for many of them, the ultimate success. Five of them have won the Stanley Cup. Poile has been in Nashville a long time, but hasn’t had a real deep postseason run. Maloney has had the unenviable job in Phoenix of having 29 different owners who he is trying to deal with from both sides of the table.
But look at the names who also got votes, and you will see Steve Yzerman, Mike Gillis, Jim Rutherford, Doug Wilson, Bob Murray, Stan Bowman, Dale Tallon, Brian Burke, Glen Sather and Chuck Fletcher.
Yes, he built the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist, but what has Yzerman really done as a GM in Tampa so far?
Ditto Gillis, who was handed a team built to win in Vancouver and hasn’t been able to lift it to the top and has botched the Roberto Luongo thing not once, but twice.
Wilson has kept the Sharks competitive but has never met expectations.
Tallon spent a ton of money in Florida and it worked – for a year. He also made some of the biggest management blunders this side of Jay Feaster in Chicago a few years ago with regard to offer sheets.
Burke was fired before the voting was even done, and still got two votes.
Sather has had a track record of burying his mistakes in the minors, and has had to trade other massive mistakes.
All Fletcher has really done is throw massive amounts of money around to bring in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Remember, he also traded FOR Dany Heatley.
Murray doesn’t have a Stanley Cup to his credit, but he has a track record of building a winner. If Burke is going to get credit for the Leafs’ successes after he left, then surely Murray deserves the credit for creating the foundation of the team Burke would win a Cup with, the 2007 Ducks. Murray took over a Senators team that had almost no legitimate prospects after bad drafting and has built a true perennial contender in the AHL, one that has been able to succeed this season despite the massive level of injuries that have put an unprecedented strain on the entire system.
Murray deserves a lot of consideration for GM of the Year given the job he has done the past couple of seasons, and I don’t think he is getting anywhere near the credit he has earned.
I wonder how the 8 Debate would look if the voting were done today?