Thread: Worst Jets GM
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02-09-2013, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by blueandgoldguy View Post
You c'mon now.

There's no reason to believe he forced those deals on Smith. You're actually going to try to convince me he told Smith to trade Draper for a buck? Draper had barely played any games for the Jets before Smith gave up on him, not to mention he was paid #### all so cost considerations wouldn't have played a role. Same with Stu - made very little money and was hardly given a chance with the organization. Fact is, Smith showed very little patience with his picks and really had no long-term build strategy for the JEts.

Another bad trade was the Hawerchuk trade. I remember following this closely as a kid. Smith had ample opportunity to trade him for some legit front line talent like Rod Brind'amour or Tony Amonte. Instead he ended up trading him for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel and Jeff Parker. Value-wise it was reasonable, but it was very poor asset management on Smith's part as it failed to address the Jets' needs on offense. The Jets already had three offensive defensmen in Olausson, Ellett and Numminen (Numminen being a good two-way defenseman and Ellett to a lesser degree). Sure enough, after a poor start to the season, in part because of the Jets ****-poor offense, the JEts ended up trading one of the Fab Four, Dave Ellett, along with the previous season's team leading goal-scorer, Paul Fenton, for Eddie Olczyk and Mark Osborne. Too little, too late as the Jets continued to struggle to score goals and ended up out of the playoffs. A difficult feat considering 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs.

Smith's record speaks for itself. Promoted to GM in 1988, his teams only made the playoffs 3 of 6 seasons. Contrast that with Ferguson whose teams made the playoffs 7 out of 9 times. All the more impressive when you consider he has to start from scratch as an expansion team after the NHL thought it was reasonable to completely pillage the Jets' WHA roster; and he had to contend with the likes of the Oilers and Flames in the same division for most of the Jets' early existence. Smith on the other hand, was left with a half-decent core featuring the likes of Dale Hawerchuk, Brent Ashton, Andrew McBain, Randy Carlyle, Dave Ellett, Thomas Steen, Laurie Boschman, Doug Smail, not to mention blue chippers, Selanne and Elyniuk. All that talent, and he was still incapable of icing a team that could contend for the playoffs on a consistent basis.

Smith's horrible record as GM in Chicago, based on that team's poor win-loss record and his terrible draft picks all but solidifies him as one of the worst GMs in NHL history. I don't think anyone can dispute this.
What a great trip down memory lane. I agree that Smith wins this particular contest, hands down, but he was still an interesting and quirky guy to look back on. He was really book smart (?PHD) and had progressive ideas (esp WRT Europeans) but couldn't translate that to success in the real NHL world. I see that personality type in my world all the time. Ferguson was almost the complete opposite.

One last thing about Smith in the GOOD column. One of his last acts, before being fired as Chicago GM, was to draft a fella by the name of Dustin Byfuglien, 245th in the 2003 draft.

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