Lowe's strength as a GM
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10-05-2003, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
In general, my opinion is that the success and failure of any NHL GM has more to do with luck, randomness, and circumstances than it has to do with actual skills. However, I have to disagree with a lot of what you said about other GMs, franchises, in addition to your rather harsh criticisms of Lowe.
1) I think your classification of Minny as a model franchise is way premature. Sure, they had a great season last year. But that was the 1st time they have even finished above .500 and made the playoffs. Let's hold the accolades until they show that they can sustain it for a few years.
As I recall, not so long ago, another expansion team had great success early on by playing air tight boring trap hockey. They even made it all the way to the finals. The team: Florida Panthers. Enough said.
2) I have a bit of a problem with your quote:
Originally Posted by
The Sens are filled with great young talent (Hossa, Havlat, Spezza, Redden), the Wild (Gaborik, Shultz, Bouchard, the-still-in-Finland Mikko Koivu, and now camp standout Brook Burns amongst others), and the Canucks (The Sedin Twins, Ed Jovanovski, Mattias Ohlund, Matt Cooke, and Brent Sopel).
With all due respects I think the Canucks have a very average set of young players and a very mediocore (to put it politely) set of prospects. Putting Jovo and Ohlund in that group is
stretching the definition of youth (they are the same age as Ryan Smyth). I like Sopel but I don't think he belongs with most of the players mentioned in your list based on current capabilities or youthful potential. As for the Sedins, after 3 years of priviledged ice time and preferential treatment, it seems to me that their
as frontline star players is based more on hype and hope than actual merit. If they were fresh faced rookies, I would cut them some slack. But after 3 years of occassional flashes but mostly nil, let's wait to see if they can actually put up some Comrie like numbers (who is another one of your recent Oiler whipping boy) before we even mention them in the same breath as Havlet and Hossa.
3) I agree with Lowetide that your criticism of the Weight trade is a bit unfair. Every team that had to trade an UFA at that time got crappy returns. That was the financial reality at and since that time. You kept harping on the fact that Canucks and the Flames were able to lock up their key players as if they were strokes of management genius. The fact was, none of those guys were impending UFAs. The Flames are now stuck with a huge Iginla contract and cannot afford any depth. They have become overly dependent on him and look what happened last year when Iginla could not duplicate his MVP season. The Oilers, on the other hand, survived last year even with injuries to key guys like Comrie and York, a Niniima who played with wonky back all year, not to mention a less than stellar Salo. The Canucks have done well by keeping their key players but the truth is, they have significantly more financial resources than the Oilers. Last year the Nucks had a payroll of 36 mil compared to the Oilers' 31. With that extra 5 mil the Oilers could possibly have kept some of the veterans and signed some UFAs. This year the gap get even bigger as the Nucks payroll jumps to 42 mil compared to the Oilers' 33 (I'm not exactly sure, but close). The fact is the Oilers is walking on a very tight rope financially. If they had lost 30 mil like Burke did in his 1st (??) year there, there isn't a McCaw to absorb the losses. The franchise would have been doomed. There's not as much room for error as there's for the Canucks (not that I'm saying they have a lot).
As for the Sens, I have to agree that they are a very well run team. But you have remember that all those consecutive years of finishing dead last or near dead last have allowed them to accumulate a lot of useful assets. I'm not sure if this is the best strategy that you want to use intentionally.
4) You also seem to think that Burke is a better GM than Lowe. I think they've both done a good job and I like them both. They both had their hits and misses. But since you've pointed out all the shortcomings of Lowe, let me point out some of Burkes:
The continual fumbling of his search for a goalie not only has cost the team games and possibly playoff series, but also useful players like Aucoin and Scatchard. Even to this day, you gotta wonder if Cloutier is the man. I find this disturbing as the window of opportunity for winning it all is closing fast on this team, given the fact Bertuzzi and Naslund are close to pricing themselves out of the market. This is compounded by a looming lockout that could lose everyone a year. You can argue til your face turn blue but the Nucks do not have a youthful core nor do they have the depth scoring wise beyond the 1st line.
You stated that Lowe has drafted atrociously. Well, I'm not sure I agree with you on that. However, I think that Burke and his regime has drafted even worse. After making all that splash to get the Sedins (which also cost their own 1st pick + McCabe in the process), they have still yet to show they are anything more than marginal 2nd liners and probably should be playing on the 3rd line. Chubarov, Ruutu, Reid, King may become serviceable, 3rd/4th line checker/energy guys, but they are more or less fringe journeymen. Picks like Nathan Smith, Thatcher Bell, Vydareny, Fedorov (with the BIG warning sign and the BRIGHT flashing red light before the Nucks took him) are highly questionable picks. In the later rounds, it's as barren as anyone can get. But I gotta admit though, Kesler looks like a keeper and Umberger may turn out OK (either in a Nucks jersey or as trade bait).
As I said before, the Sedins deserved no better than to be playing on the 3rd line. It would have served the team better. I think Burke is selfish in that he wants to do everything he could to see the Sedins succeed even at the expense of the team. He really stuck his neck out in the way he drafted them in 1999 and I think it has clouded his judgement since. Instead of giftwrapping ice time and mostly 2nd line duties to the Sedins, he should have kept Cassels as his 2nd line C. If he had done that and perhaps pair him with Linden and/or some other wingers, he would now have a solid 2nd line, as everyone cup contender needs. Instead, he now has a one line team that can be keyed on and shut down come the playoffs. You say he didn't have the money for Cassels? Well, if you think, as you stated in a prior post, that the Oilers could somehow
come up with the money to keep Weight, I don't see why the Nucks couldn't have done the same with Cassels.
Even to this day, I still question the Pavel Bure deal. Yes, I know, Jovo has turned out to be one of the top D in the league. But Bure is one of greatest scorers in the history of the game whereas Jovo, will probably go down as merely a good one compared to other great D in history. If you also consider that, at the time of the trade, Bure was in the prime of his career whereas Jovo was a young guy whose future was still very much in doubt (actually, was regressing a bit), you really have to wonder why the Nucks got so little in return, especially with the fact that salary discrepanies were not as big a factor in trade at that time as it is today. Not only that, but for whatever reasons, the Nucks had to give up a very useful defenseman in Hedican and were shoved up their the ass with a garbage in Dave Gagner. I was living in Vcr at that time. My friends and my reaction to the Hedican and Gagner part of the deal were an unanimous "WTF ?!?!?!?!?!!?". As for Brown and Weekes...let's not even go there...
So if you think the Weight deal set the Oilers back a couple of years, I would have to say the same for the Bure deal.
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