I agree on your points. He is a good gm, but some of his moves lately are questioning his handling of prospects. You'll never see how good a GM is until they have to start from scratch. Holland and PL get press from the media but they have tons of money and take over established clubs. Murray came in and rehauled the Ducks in a year after nearly finishing last in the West. Lou in NJ has built 3 cup teams while working on a limited budget and losing key players like Holik for nothing. Burke and Lowe in EDM should also get props because they have built teams with a small budget, especially Lowe who despite trading great players or losing them to FA always seems to field a playoff-caliber team.
Well, since gauging one's performance from start to scratch is impossible, we'd have to look at the next best thing: consistency
For the Avs...only Sakic, Roy, Foote, and Forsberg were on the '96 cup winning team. So that's 18 new roster players when the Avs won again in '01. But it's not like the Avs have had a pot of gold for the whole time. If they did, then a lot of players like Ricci (one of my favorite players) and Simon would've still been on the team.
The Red Wings have gone to the playoffs almost the entire decade and came out on top 3 times. So have the Devils.
Compare that to the Rangers, who won in '94, but haven't really been the same since.