There are a lot of bad teams in the NHL this season. And with bad teams, come the bad general managers who built them. Here are four GMs whose rear ends should be hotter than the core of Mount Vesuvius.
There are a lot of bad teams in the NHL this season. And with bad teams, come the bad general managers who built them.
It’s an open secret that being an NHL GM is perhaps the most secure job in the history of industrialized society. These guys are bulletproof, rarely ever watching the axe fall at the head of the table and allowing mediocre executives to continue making poor managerial decisions so long as their membership to the Old Boys Club still stands.
Frankly, change is long overdue.
So, here are four GMs whose rear ends should be hotter than the core of Mount Vesuvius.
Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia
When Chuck Fletcher came to Philadelphia in December of 2018, expectations were for a quick turnaround.
The Flyers simply needed some new blood in a front office that had been ruled by Paul Holmgren for years. Their core was already built. Their prospects were close. All Fletcher had to do was add a bit of window dressing and the banners would come rolling in.
That has not been the case.
Not only have the Flyers missed the playoffs in two of Fletcher’s three seasons at the helm – with their only playoff round victory coming in 2020 against a Montreal Canadiens team that earned its post-season spot in the bubble’s qualifying round – but that window dressing Fletcher was tasked with isn’t exactly an interior designer’s dream.
Giving up a first, Robert Hagg, and a second-round pick swap for Rasmus Ristolainen, arguably the worst analytical defenseman in the entire league, would be bad enough. But paying the Coyotes a second-round pick in order to take Shayne Gostisbehere and open the cap space to do it is even worse. And that’s just the beginning.
Where the Flyers find themselves is essentially right back where they were when Fletcher first came aboard. He’s already overseen one roster reboot. Why should he be given another one?
Doug Wilson, San Jose
How many senior citizens can you tie boat anchors to before people start questioning your job status?
It’s downright remarkable just how little heat Doug Wilson has taken for the mess he’s created in San Jose. This was a team with real championship aspirations not too long ago. A team that loaded up for a Cup run, even convincing Kevin LeBanc to accept a one-year, $1 million deal so they’d have the cap space to do so.
That didn’t work. And now, the Sharks find themselves in the NHL’s basement, mired in salary cap hell with a cavalcade of immovable contracts that worsen by the minute.
Acquiring Erik Karlsson was great! Handing him $11.5 million over eight years almost immediately after doctors reportedly removed half of his ankle bone was not. Neither was handing Marc-Edouard Vlasic an eight-year deal at age 31, just in time for his play to fall off a cliff, as so many players of his ilk tend to do. Or giving Martin Jones $5.75 million over six years to be a sub-.900 goalie before buying him out this off-season sure wasn’t the brightest idea. Or signing Evander Kane to a seven-year deal despite his notoriously checkered history. Or locking an already-aging Brent Burns into a deal that doesn’t expire until his 40s.