In this series, we’ll be looking at each current NHL gm’s biggest fuck up. Beginning with The Atlantic division. Let’s go
Don Sweeney- Boston Bruins
Don has actually done a pretty solid job in the trade department. While his draft resume isn’t as strong, its tough to criticize a team that almost won the last cup and before the break had a 6 point cushion as the top team in the NHL. Sweeny, early in his gig as Bruins Gm, did some excellent work as he was able to unload Milan Lucic for Martin Jones, Colin Miller, and a 2015 1st round pick, he then flipped Jones to the sharks for Sean Kuraly and a 2016 1st rounder. Hell of a haul for a guy that fell off a cliff shortly after the deal. His worst trade came one day later when he delt Reilly Smith, and Marc Savard in exchange for Jimmy Hayes. Smith was coming off a 13 goal 40 point season for the bruins. He had racked up 91 points in his two seasons with the B’s. Hayes had just completed his first full NHL season, where he put up 35 points (still his best season statically.) Savard’s inclusion in the deal was purely for cap relief purposes, which in hindsight may not have been worth giving up on Smith, who has gone on to have a very successful career in both Flordia and Vegas. Fortunately for Sweeney and the Bruins, their return on Smith was mountains more than what the Panthers got when they shipped him to Vegas.
Julien Brisebois- Tampa Bay Lightning
Brisebois is still early in his tenor as Lightning Gm. He took over for the Man the myth the legend Steve Yzerman in 2019 and has not had to do a ton with his stacked inherited roster. Most moves have been minor, and more or less have made sense. He has been criticized for the steep price he paid for Barclay Goodrow. If this NHL season does not resume, that move will hurt a little more.
Tampa Bay receives: Barclay Goodrow, + a 3rd round pick.
San Jose receives: Anthony Greco, + a 1st round pick.
Kyle Dubas- Toronto Maple Leafs
Because its frickin Toronto Dubas is both praised and criticized more than most gms in the league, I don’t believe he has had a particularly tricky job, the majority of the team was in place when he took over for Lou Lamoriello. He did a good job bringing in Jake Muzzin for a relatively low cost adding much needed defensive help. The acquisition of Jack Campbell as the team’s back up goalie this year was well-received, of course, not resigning Curtis McElhinney, who was the perfect back up goalie, led to the need to go out and get Campbell. Giving up Josh Leivo for next to nothing kind of hurts, but it’s not shocking, and the Leafs didn’t have room for him. The biggest knock on Dubas has been his inability to get “team friendly” contracts out of his young forwards, which again because its Toronto is overblown. The Nylander contract was considered an overpayment. One year later, it looks pretty good. Marner + Matthews + Tavares making just under 33 million is heavy but win a playoff series or two, and the narrative will quickly change. Dubas has done an excellent job utilizing things like LTIR to keep under the cap. His biggest mistake is, unfortunately, looking like the Kadri for Barrie deal. A deal that made sense at the time will likely be a big win for the Colorado Avalanche. The Leafs won’t be able to resign Barrie, and Kerfoot instead of Kadri is a pretty steep downgrade.
Toronto receives: Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot, and a 6th round pick.
Colorado receives: Nazim Kadri, Calle Rosen, and a 3rd round pick.
Dale Tallon- Flordia Panthers
The answer is Reilly Smith again, but first, let me say this. Dale Tallon has this reputation around the league of being a good GM, and maybe he is…there is a lot more to the job than making trades. But going through Tallon’s trade history, it is underwhelming, to say the least. Going back to his Chicago days, Tallon never really makes any significant positive impact on his rosters via trade. His time in Florida (since 2010) has been a humungous big fat failure. The cats have qualified for the playoffs just twice despite adding what many believe to be fantastic franchise centrepieces in Barkov, Huberdeau, and Ekblad(kinda sometimes). Tallon’s inability to find the right complementary pieces and in the case of Smith and Marchessault GIVE THEM AWAY hurts a franchise that desperately needs to find success in order to bring in fans. This may be why he signed a 30-year-old goalie to a seven year 70 million dollar contract that looked like a mistake the second it was signed, one year into the deal, even worse. Back to Tallon’s worst trade. June 21st, 2017, the day of the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft.
Vegas receives: Reilly Smith
Flordia receives: a 4th round pick (Jack Gorniak)
This trade was made to protect certain players on the roster who were not already exempt. Nick Bugustad was rumoured to be the main piece Florida wanted to hold on to. Vegas agreed and chose to draft Johnathan Marchessault, essentially making the deal Smith and Marchessault for NOTHING! Less than a year later, the two played key roles in a magical run to the STANLEY CUP FINALS! I’d fire Tallon yesterday, but that’s just me.
Marc Bergevin- Montreal Canadians
Marc Bergevin actually seems like a great guy, one that I’d love to grab a beer with. Because he is in Montreal, like Toronto, I think he is unfairly criticized. He has not done a terrible job. He just hasn’t done a good job either. Now, of course, it is easier said than done, but when you have arguably the best goalie in the world, you should probably build around that strength. The Canadians for some time now haven’t seemed to have a clear plan. In limbo going between rebuilding and building. They have struggled to draw in big-name free agents, the Canadians have been linked to every half-decent centre on the market for the last five years and continue to come up empty. They made a splash when they signed Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet last summer, but it was not nearly enough. There was never any doubt that the Hurricanes would immediately match the offer. His Webber for Subban trade is looking pretty good right about now, and Domi has been a far more useful player than Alex Galchenyuk. He got a decent haul for Pacioretty. Tatar has been great, and Suzuki looks like he will be a great hab at some point. Deals like this are excellent if you are rebuilding and deals like the Webber and Domi ones make sense if you are trying to compete but the combination can leave you in no man’s land, and that’s exactly where the habs are. Bergevin’s worst trade especially if the team trends towards the rebuild is:
Montreal receives: Johnathan Drouin and a conditional 6th round pick
Tampa Bay receives: Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional 2nd round pick
Drouin has been consistently inconsistent during his three seasons as a Canadian. He has a ton of skill but at 25 does not appear to be capable of becoming the offensive superstar many believed he would be. Sergachev, on the other hand, is only 21 years old with three seasons under his belt, he has struggled at times with inconsistencies of his own but appears capable of becoming an all-star level offensive-defensemen.
Jason Botterill- Buffalo Sabers
I think Buffalo is about to turn the corner I really do, I really really do. Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin are incredible building blocks and Botterill is a competent general manager. It’s going to come together for this team. They are going to make the playoffs within the next two years; It’s just too bad they traded Ryan O’Reilly.
St.Louis receives: Ryan O’ Rielly.
Buffalo receives: Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Bergland, Tage Thompson, a 1st round pick, and a 2nd round pick.
They got a bunch of stuff back…none of what they got back is Conn Smyth trophy winner Ryan O’ Rielly. Eichel liked him… WHY did you trade Ryan O’ Rielly?
Pierre Dorion- Ottawa Senators
When Dorion first took over in Ottawa for Brian Murray, I thought he was going to be the worst gm in the league. However, the rebuild is going reasonably well, and you’ve gotta remember he has Eugine Melnyuk breathing down his neck so maybe he’s not as bad as his worst trade? Its a really bad worst trade though. There are a few bad ones but the Mika Zibanijad trade is really rough.
Ottawa receives: Derrik Brassard, and a 2018 7th round pick.
NY Rangers receives: Mika Zibanijad, and a 2018 2nd round pick.
Mika had done nothing but improve every year he was in Ottawa, scoring 20,33,46, then 51 points in his four full seasons. Zibanijad in just 57 games this season, scored a career-high 71 points. The guy was unreal.
Brassard helped the Sens 2018 playoff run but had declined steadily and after a series of trades looked like he may be out of the league before having a decent comeback season with the Islanders this year.
Steve Yzerman- Detroit Red Wings
There is nothing here to criticize because A: Yzerman just got here and has only made eight minor trades, and B: He is perfect and probably won’t make a bad trade until his brain stops working. Even going back to his time with Tampa, there isn’t much you can argue with the man is good. He’s outstanding. Detroit, you are lucky to have him.