Friday, July 07, 2006

How to be a horrible GM in the NHL...

Sometimes, in the crazy world of the National Hockey League, General Managers make odd decisions that leave us wondering what was going through their heads. For instance, when Mike O'Connell, then the Bruins GM, traded away Joe Thornton to the Sharks, we couldn't do anything but be shocked at the fact that he had just traded his franchise player for an average foward and a pretty good defenseman.

At other times, some GM's really manage to blow the minds of every hockey fan in the world by pulling a series of moves that make no sense whatsoever. Case in point: Dave Nonis of the Vancouver Canucks.

Dave Nonis came in last year and inherited a pretty good team. When Brian Burke left the Canucks, they had a spectacular offense, a decent defense and adequate goaltending. In his first year at the helm, Nonis allowed #3 and #4 defensemen Brent Sopel and Marek Malik to sign with other teams, and did not replace them. He did, however, bring in Anson Carter, who wound up being a great success playing with the Sedin twins. But in the end, with Ed Jovanovski getting hurt (and the defense having no depth whatsoever), and with Dan Cloutier missing almost all of the year, the Canucks missed the postseason for the first time in years.

So, this year, Nonis decided the team needed an overhaul. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but when you do make changes, you try to make your team better, not worse. Anyway, his first move was to can Mark Crawford, one of the best coaches in the league. It seems that Nonis was intent on trading away Todd Bertuzzi, and I agree that 'Big Bert' needed to be moved, just like Dany Heatley needed to be moved a year earlier. On top of not being very effective last year, Bertuzzi was eating up over 5 millions of the salary cap, and the Canucks needed some room in order to be able to re-sign Jovanovski. But instead of trying to get a younger and cheaper version of Bertuzzi, or using his biggest trade bait to shore up the defense, he traded him for Roberto Luongo, a goaltender who has never won a playoff game and that would eventually wind up costing 2 more millions than Bertuzzi would have. Also, we can't forget that in the trade, Nonis included #6 defenseman Bryan Allen, and #2 goalie Alex Auld. That trade essentially left the Canucks with a 7 million/year #1 goalie and a 2.8 million/year #2 goalie.

Of course, in the aftermath of that trade, the Canucks, even more cash-strapped than they were, had no chance of re-signing 'Jovo'. And on July 1st, he signed with the Pheonix Coyotes. Being in a position where he had to get a defenseman on his roster to "replace" #55, Nonis went out and overpaid for Willie Mitchell. In order to fix his new 10 million/year problem in nets, he traded away Dan Cloutier to the Kings for a pair of draft picks. Still, the Canucks were in a tough position in regards to the cap, as they have a lot of money tied up in Luongo, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrisson, and they still have to ink the Sedin twins. So, this week again, Nonis came out and said they wouldn't attempt to re-sign Anson Carter, his one good acquisition since he inherited Burke's position. Furthermore, the Canucks might have to trade away Morrisson if they intend to fill out the roster with NHL-level players.

So, to recap, when Dave Nonis came into the Vancouver Canucks general manager's job, he had a team that boasted Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrisson, Todd Bertuzzi and the Sedin twins on attack, a defense that was lead by Ed Jovanovski and Matthias Ohlund and the solid goaltending duo of Dan Cloutier and Alex Auld. Just a little bit over a year later, the Canucks now have a potentially great goaltender and a pretty good defenseman in Willie Mitchell, but the price they have paid for it is the departure Todd Bertuzzi, 4 of their top 6 defensemen, the possible exit of Brendan Morrisson. When the Sedin twins eventually are re-signed, the Canucks will have over 34 millions in paid salaries, with 4 defensive and 5 offensive slots to fill on the roster. Luongo didn't want to stay in Florida because he had had enough of their porous defense and lack of offense. He just might find out this year that Vancouver will be experiencing some of the same problems.

Indeed, what Nonis has accomplished is giving every hockey fan out there a lesson in how to be a horrible GM in the NHL.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Dwarf out.


At 11:07 PM, Blogger Nick the Dick said...

How can you still write about hockey in July and 2 days before the WC Final? Get a life and get your camping material ready for the "Noël des Campeurs"... I was expecting some kind of analysis about how France will beat Italy (unless Italy has managed to arrange the game with the referees...). I don't think anyone cares about the Vancouver Canucks right now!!! C'mon Dwarf!!!!!

At 9:31 AM, Blogger The Dwarf said...

Italy won... France lost... who cares? Not me.

Here is my only comment on the WC: didn't see the final match, didn't want to see the final match. Left without a team to cheer for (I hate Italy and the French, well, they're the French), I sorta lost interest. Hopefully, I can finish high in the pool and take comfort in that.

By the way, next blog will be tomorrow night. We'll be discussing Ricky Williams and the CFL.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Frank The Tank said...

Hey estie

Tu m'niaises le Hockey en Juillet? Tant qu'a could've talked about le gros Georges qui est parti in Phoenix! Pis entre un spagat et du fois gras me semble que c'est évident qu'tu votes pour le fois gras! t'en faire the french they're the french...


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