Who is the NHL’s Best General Manager?

Behind each outstanding franchise are great NHL general managers. Someone who can build a championship roster through free agent signings, draft picks, and quality trades. Someone that uses their trusted advisors to their advantage while managing the recruitment process and retaining only the best players while navigating a set salary cap. A general manager must also negotiate with agents of players and deal with the constant threat of offer sheets. The right coaching staff needs to be hired into place in order to transform good players into real contenders. There is a lot of qualities that determine an outstanding NHL general manager.

General Managers and Their Player Choices

Obtaining the best combination of players possible is all about effective team management. 

The best general managers will use tactful trading techniques to acquire top players while still managing salary caps. Doing this allows them to put together bulletproof rosters with strong lineups. A great example of a manager who recruited multiple players within these limitations was Kelly McCrimmon of the Vegas Golden Knights. Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers was also well known for doing this. A great general manager must also be sure not to have money tied up on their books that can impact their ability to acquire more better players. This is a particular issue for Jeff Gorton of the New York Rangers, albeit only a short term one.

Recruiting the Right Players

General managers who are at the top of their game will not be hesitant in recruiting heavily. They may sometimes sign up an expensive player to see immediate benefits, perhaps when the player’s previous team performance was weak. A perfect example of this was when Chuck Fletcher of the Philadelphia Flyers took on Matt Niskanen. 

Strong recruiting and active recruiting will not work on its own. General managers need to be careful in their approach through thorough research and consideration. Some of the things they should think about include how long the player might stay with the team, whether the expense is worth the commitment, and how soon they may retire. There’s also the critical question of whether the player can help improve the club enough to take them into the playoffs and hopefully the Stanely Cup.

Another tactic which a general manager might use within player recruitment could be to bring in young talent. This is precisely what Bryan Murray did when he took on Erik Karlsson as part of the Ottawa Senators. This was clearly a good choice when the player went on to win the 2012 Norris Cup. A similar situation also occurred when Bob Murray signed Nick Bonino as soon as he left college.

NHL General Managers Need Veteran Talent

Veteran talent also has its advantages, particularly as far as experience is concerned. The Phoenix Coyotes are a powerful example when five experienced players were added to the team.

Leadership is another attribute that a successful NHL general manager must have. The team must always be led in the right direction. Then, of course, there’s planning, which works alongside this. The best types of general managers will never be derailed by the success of other teams. Instead, they will be able to formulate a healthy plan and stick by it. The best examples of this is Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jeff Gorton of the New York Rangers. With planning, it also makes sense to discuss the importance of analytical skills. Notably, a manager’s ability to analyze player performance and team situation, then quickly make changes to enhance performance within their team. 

A strong track record does always help in being a good manager. However, a clean tenure is certainly not required. The best managers tend to overcome adversity while identifying great opportunities and always remaining active, just like Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets. 

One team in particular whose manager had a significant impact on them was Colorado Avalanche managed by Joe Sakic. Thanks to a trade with Matt Duchene, the defense is pretty much set up for another decade. And considering the rest of the lineup, this team has one of the highest chances of long-term success in the NHL. Handicappers have certainly taken note, with resulting odds for this team being impressive, according to OLBG’s hockey betting picks.

Great NHL General Managers

The most successful general managers within the NHL are the ones who recruit the right players. Specifically, ones who invest enough time in considering the risks and assets of each potential player. They will look for young players who are newer to professional hockey and expect to perform well, or that will hold a long tenure with a team that signs them.

Great general managers may also bring on board the wisdom and experience of veteran talent, which could help bring their team to a whole new level. They will also need to consider the right players, but within salary caps they can afford, which is not easy. Aside from recruiting talent, there are other attributes a general manager would need to be successful. Outstanding managers tend to be successful leaders who also have excellent planning skills. Moreover, they can analyze both the team’s performance as a whole and individual players’ performance.

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