Hello everyone and welcome once again to another edition of Fantasy Hockey 201. On this installment, since we are so close to the actual NHL Trade Deadline, we decided to up the ante a bit and show off the General Managers that actually wind up killing fantasy teams with their real life NHL trades. This is a marriage of fantasy and reality so please forgive us if some of these proposals end up in the land of misfit ideas.
There was no easy way to set this up but thanks to our many connections in the fantasy hockey industry, there arose the idea of a straw poll to determine Turkeys amongst the current batch of 30 NHL GM’s. Some choices were tough and there were many disagreements. However, no punches were thrown and we heard all had a good time.
And now we humbly present our three General Manager Turkeys…
1. Lou Lamoriello (New Jersey Devils) — Now if the Devils make the playoffs all is forgiven but clearly a lot of things went wrong with New Jersey in the early part of the year and some of that has to fall on Lou whether it is fair or unfair. Someone “buys the groceries” after all. Think of how bad New Jersey was before this 16-1-2 stretch. They were a whopping 19 games below .500, but Lou had the ability to be a bit more proactive but chose not to. If the Devils should miss the playoffs by a few points, they can looka the general manager to blame.
It is more than just that however. The lineup juggling by not better constructing the Ilya Kovalchuk deal was just an appetizer. Add in the wait to fire John MacLean, who was just not cut out to handle all of this. No it was not fair to burn Mac at the stake so we will burn Lamoriello for that one. Just imagine the fantasy impact that Lamoriello indirectly had on the Devils.
When a team is completely out of shape and the GM almost does not care, the blame has to be cast on someone. Yes, Mr. Lamoriello the turkeys turn their eyes on you. For the Devils could actually be near the top of the division but instead still have a tough mountain to climb.
2. Garth Snow (NY Islanders) — This may be another one that is kind of unfair as the Islanders have been beset by more injuries than most can count even on a slide rule or abacus. However at some point, a GM has to be accountable when this keeps happening over and over.
The old adage one is an accident, twice is a trend applies here. There is no excuse for this team using six goalies in a year. Philadelphia is different as we are used to seeing that sort of thing. Add in how the Pittsburgh brawl was handled by the General Manager as well.
Yes the organization’s mentality as a whole deserves considerable blame but Snow let it ride which an almost maverick attitude that Machiavelli would be proud of. The Islanders can barely stay above the salary floor and are technically below it now (they will be above at season’s end with bonuses paid).
Now Snow can escape the Turkey if the Islanders make the playoffs. However that does not seem likely yet.
3. Greg Sherman (Colorado Avalanche) — The Avs GM has watched his team beset by injuries and bad coaching decisions aplenty this year.
Let’s face it last year a ton of things broke right for the Avalanche and now it has all gone South. Compounding matters was the trade for defenseman Erik Johnson. This is not a bad trade on the surface but the Blues have to finish in the bottom ten for the conditional pick to take in effect this year for Colorado. That would make the trade to the Blues less painful. But Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk will be two solid pieces in the puzzle for years in St. Louis. John Michael-Liles is not going to get the return he could have gotten before the season started. There is something to be said about rover defenseman in Colorado.
Acquiring Brian Elliott does not help either. Craig Anderson is not a bad goalie by any means but Elliott is. Any GM could see that.
Hopefully Sherman knows drafts because if not, Colorado could be scarred for a few years and a place where fantasy hockey GM’s dare not tread. That remains to be seen.
1. Bryan Murray (Ottawa) – He is getting pretty good return for his fire sale but should not still be there.
2. Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia) — Until the cup is won, he will be here.
3. Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) — Sounds crazy but there could be a big cap problem in Pittsburgh next season.
Yes there is some controversy as always but these are our picks. The three turkeys this week have hampered their team in some significant way fantasy wise so have at it and give us your three General Manager turkeys. See you next week with some trade deadline fallout. Aloha.