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Best Executive in NHL History?

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05-22-2005, 11:49 AM
  #1
KH1
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Best Executive in NHL History?

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.)

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05-22-2005, 12:04 PM
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05-22-2005, 12:32 PM
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Glen Sather?

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
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

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05-22-2005, 01:06 PM
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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.

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05-22-2005, 01:23 PM
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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.

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05-22-2005, 01:25 PM
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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.

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05-22-2005, 01:28 PM
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[QUOTE=NYIsles1]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.


Just wasn't the case. All teams in the 6 team league had territorial rights. The French Canadian rule that 'experts' always bring up was a loophole exploited in 68 for Houle and Tardif, and Michel Plasse the year before.

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05-22-2005, 02:12 PM
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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.

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05-22-2005, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Henry I
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.)
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.

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05-22-2005, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYIsles1
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.
Clarke built the majority of the team in Florida.

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Old
05-22-2005, 06:48 PM
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What, no mentions of Brian Burke?

Pollock is the stock answer for good reason.

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05-23-2005, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Mike Milbury
Hey, as the saying goes, he built two great future dynasties.... for Florida and Ottawa.

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05-24-2005, 02:23 PM
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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.

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05-24-2005, 04:43 PM
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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.

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05-24-2005, 05:15 PM
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I go with Sam Pollock also. All those cups it was amazing. Like 15 cups in 24 years its hard to imagine.

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05-24-2005, 05:23 PM
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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.

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05-25-2005, 10:30 PM
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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.

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05-25-2005, 10:49 PM
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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.

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05-25-2005, 11:02 PM
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pollock - slam dunk

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Old
05-25-2005, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malefic74
Certainly Ken Holland deserves a mention, and come to think of it should be up there with Lamoriello.
Holland tops my list - of most over rated.

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Old
05-26-2005, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salzy
Holland tops my list - of most over rated.
Holland is good, but he inherited a team that already won the cup. Best today I say Lou Lam followed by Lacroix.

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05-26-2005, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salzy
Holland tops my list - of most over rated.
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.

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05-26-2005, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malefic74
I disagree. Unlike Lacroix he has mixed in some very skilled youth with his veterans;
Tanguay, Aebischer, Liles, Vaananen
Quote:
and he's kept his picks and used them well drafting consistently near the bottom of the first round.
Since 1997 the Wings have picked in the 1st round only twice
Quote:
And unlike Sather he has used his money very wisely.
Well there was Krupp
Quote:
He's concentrated on chemistry over big names
Well the 2002 shopping spree and the 1999 deadline spre that yeilded Chelios
Quote:
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.
If you're comparing him to Lacroix the Avs have had much more roster turnover that the Wings in that span
Quote:
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.
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

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05-26-2005, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasbro
Tanguay, Aebischer, Liles, Vaananen
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
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.

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05-26-2005, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malefic74
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.
Yeah we're all pretty bitter bout that. I think our extinction is exagerated.


Quote:
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.
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.

Quote:
If one guy is the only extravagence on your resume in the NHL that's not bad.
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
Quote:
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.
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.

Quote:
Yet Chelios has fit with the team very well.
Yeah Chelios was pretty good, but he was with Samuelson, Clark, Ranford
Quote:
I would argue the Hatcher signing was worse, but by and large he plugs a defenceman in and it works.
Might turn out well I think he'll just be a bit over prised when it's said and done
Quote:
Past-his-prime Coffey worked,
IIRC Coffey was traded in 96-97 for Shanahan before Holland was GM
Quote:
Schneider worked.
True dat
Quote:
Even Cujo wasn't a bad pickup and played well. The ensuing soap opera with Hasek is a black spot though.
CuJo probably shouldered too much blame for the loss the Anahiem, but I've alway felt he's a bit overrated.

Quote:
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.
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.

Quote:
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.
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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