The Stan Bowman era has been one of both excitement and mild disappointment. The Blackhawks GM has had the task of helping a team that rebuilt itself in the draft win the Stanley Cup.
At the same time, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero had been saddled with the same task also being able to win the Stanley Cup.
Both GMs were put in the same situation, though Shero has been a GM longer than Bowman. Nonetheless, when comparing the two GMs, Stan Bowman is clearly superior.
For people that are basing the value of a GM solely on draft picks, they clearly need to look at the other aspects of the job.
Sure, Shero has a great record in draft picks—Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for example—but that does not do justice to Bowman. He's only been in the job for less than two years, he needs more time to fill up that part of the resume. And besides, how hard is it to pick a top prospect for a draft pick?
So why exactly is Bowman superior?
Imagine this, you become GM and win the Stanley Cup. That very summer you must break up the Stanley Cup winning team because of salary cap restrictions and find replacements for some of your better players. That's exactly what Stan Bowman had to do, the Stanley Cup after-party was cut short and it was up to Bowman to fill in the missing pieces.
It was Bowman's job to find players and stock a farm team with prospects that would be able to fulfill the Blackhawks' needs for the years to come. Prospects that he was able to get in trades to Atlanta and Toronto. Most notably, Bowman was responsible for the acquisition of Vicktor Stalberg who has grown as a player since his first year with the Blackhawks.
If you want to look at draft picks, all credit goes to Bowman for picking up Jimmy Hayes and his brother Kevin Hayes.
Bowman was also responsible for acquiring defenseman Nick Leddy for defenseman Cam Barker. A steal of a trade considering Leddy has been far more reliable on the back end and is in his early 20s.
But aside from all that, Bowman may most be remembered for his re-signing of Blackhawks core players Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Obviously, a deal to keep these three was the main concern for the Blackhawks front office after they won the Stanley Cup. Bowman was able to put his stamp on that and sign them to mid-sized contracts.
Comparing Bowman and Shero shows that the Blackhawks have the better GM. It takes more than just picking the right players in the draft to be a successful GM.
The only real question is which team will end up with more Stanley Cup titles when all is said and done, the Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins?
The team with the better GM will squeak away with the win.
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