(This piece was written as a collaboration between Carolyn Wilke and Chris Watkins)
What makes a good general manager in the NHL?
It’s a hard question, plagued by subjectivity, by bias, and by lack of transparency. It’s complicated by league mandates like the expansion draft and the hard salary cap. It mixes the weight of process, results, and vision into one big stew, where it can be difficult to distinguish the meat from the sauce.
It’s a question, that unlike many others, is difficult to quantify with even the most advanced of stats.
And it’s one that the league has no desire to answer definitively, as that would only hurt the men currently in those roles.
Fortunately for you, Hockey Graphs loves tackling the hard questions.
In the following articles, we will attempt to rank all 31 of the NHL’s GMs, as objectively as possible, according to seven important criteria. They each painstakingly researched trade histories, draft selections, and salary cap management, coming up with a final score for each.
While this process still was subjective, in that these scores are not quantitatively derived, it was an extremely holistic process, and both of us were forced to confront some of our own biases.