6 NHL General Managers That Should Be Fired in the Offseason

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IApril 5, 2012

6 NHL General Managers That Should Be Fired in the Offseason

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    With a number of teams failing to meet expectations either down the stretch of the season or starting out of the gate poorly, someone must answer.

    One of these casualties as a direct result of the owner's disappointment was Pierre Gauthier of the Montreal Canadiens.

    After the Randy Cunneyworth/non-French-speaking debacle, Gauthier didn't make the necessary moves to rescue the Habs from a race to the finish with Edmonton to see who could tank harder for the No. 2 overall draft pick that will most likely result in the victor claiming rights to Mikhail Girgorenko. As a result, Gauthier felt the wrath of Habs nation and was shown the door.

    Here's looking at what general managers are on the hot seat this summer. Who will stay and who will go, and what are their chances of sticking around with their respective organizations for at least another year.

Jay Feaster

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    Feaster has had a successful career in the short time that he's been a GM in the NHL. So having said that, it might not entirely be his fault for the situation in Calgary.

    Since Feaster took over the position for the Calgary Flames, the team has had a "win-with-what-you-have" attitude. The roster is piled with older veterans whose best years might be behind them and every year that goes by their trade value drops just a little bit more.

    Hoping for another decent Stanley Cup run with holdovers from the 2004 Western Conference champion team, including Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, the Flames have tried to acquire additional talent during the offseason to achieve their goals.

    When Florida's franchise defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester, became an unrestricted free agent, Calgary did something they very much regret today. The Flames massively overpaid for the high-scoring defenseman who has not produced anywhere close to the numbers he put up in Florida. Bouwmeester is also known for disappearing down the stretch and has been a playoff ghost, not appearing in one postseason game since he broke into the league back in 2002.

    Feaster has put the Flames at a crossroads. He can either have a complete fire sale this summer and ship everyone off in an attempt for a complete rebuild, or he can give the Calgary faithful one more year of the same old song and dance which is sure to end in disappointment.

    Given his short tenure in Calgary, it is unlikely that he will be removed; however, as is the case in any Canadian city, there is much more pressure to win and provide the ultimate trophy to the championship-starved Great White North.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 50 percent

Scott Howson

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    This move is pretty much set in stone already. The Columbus Blue Jackets are simply waiting for their dismal year to end as to avoid any more distractions for players and personnel.

    Scott Howson's failings in Columbus are well documented, and the decisions he made as GM reared their ugly head very early in the season.

    As soon as former Philadelphia Flyer Jeff Carter arrived in Columbus, it was apparent that he did not want to be a part of a losing organization. Carter spent a good amount of time on the injured list and was accused of dogging it during his time with the Blue Jackets in an effort to be moved.

    Carter got his wish and Howson traded his brand new crown jewel for Los Angeles' Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round draft pick.

    Howson was also responsible for giving defenseman James Wiznewski a huge unwarranted contract.

    His biggest failure was his attempt to move Rick Nash at the deadline; it is this non-move that will eventually cost Howson his job. Not only did Howson not trade the maligned winger, but he also threw Nash under the bus after the deadline, publicly stating that Nash had requested a trade.

    Columbus, to this day, remains a team with no forward depth, a horrid defense and they start the worst goaltender in the NHL on a nightly basis.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 10 percent

George McPhee

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    McPhee has been in Washington since their only Stanley Cup finals berth in 1998. Since that time, the Capitals have hit a downward spiral that created very dark days in the nation's capital for hockey.

    McPhee's horrible teams were rewarded with high draft picks for consecutive years. One of those picks was used to draft Alexander Ovechkin, who would forever change the team's identity and pack fans into seats.

    After Washington's first Ovechkin-era playoff series, a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, many pegged Washington as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup for several years in a row. The teams McPhee has created have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs.

    Washington's best chance at a run to the finals ended against the Pittsburgh Penguins when McPhee added such notable players as Sergei Fedorov, Cristobal Huet and Matt Cooke.

    Fast forward to this season when McPhee chose to release long-time bench boss Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau was a scapegoat for an underachieving Washington team that just could not pull themselves together to win like in years past. Boudreau was let go and immediately picked up by the even more disappointing Anaheim Ducks, whom he led to an impressive late-season run.

    Head coach Dale Hunter has looked like he is in way over his head all year long in his first professional coaching gig. McPhee's free-agent signings, Roman Hamrlik and Joel Ward, who were both signed for big money, have been healthy scratches for a large number of games, and the Capitals are on the verge of missing the playoffs.

    Once an absolute lock to be a top seed in the East, the Caps are right on the inside of the playoff bubble, playing with little confidence, as shown by a recent embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    If Caps owner Ted Leonsis keeps McPhee around for another year, people in Washington are going to start to question who is actually in charge of that franchise, as McPhee has overstayed his welcome by a decade, at least.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 80 percent

Jim Rutherford

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    Like George McPhee, Jim Rutherford has job security that most of us could only dream of. The general manager of the Hartford Whalers in 1994 until the present day, Rutherford has managed to put together two trips to the Stanley Cup finals resulting in one win.

    After their 2005 win, Rutherford has put together dismal team after dismal team, and you really just have to wonder how long he is going to be held on to.

    The Hurricanes were once again one of the worst teams in the NHL, missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year in an extremely weak Southeast Division.

    Rutherford's biggest "oops" moment of the season came early when he signed defenseman Tomas Kaberle off the Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins. Kaberle was quickly shipped off to Montreal in exchange for aging blueliner and soon to be unrestricted free agent Jaroslav Spacek.

    Team stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward had unimpressive seasons, which is easy to understand when you look at the supporting cast of that team.

    Last year's Calder Trophy winner, Jeff Skinner, took a step back in development due to injury and lack of production.

    Perhaps Rutherford's final mistake was not shipping off defensemen Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason and forward Tuomo Ruutu, but instead signing them to contract extensions. If the Hurricanes intend to improve their team, they are going to need top talent and star power in the years to come, not holdovers from years past.

    The Hurricanes have serious issues with forward depth and need to give Cam Ward the defense he deserves, as he is easily an elite top five goaltender in the league when he is on his game.

    After almost 20 years, it's time for Carolina to make a serious change in management.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 75 percent

Garth Snow

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    Garth Snow's case is a curious one because nobody in New York—or the NHL as a whole, for that matter—really knows who's in charge of the Isles.

    Snow made possibly the worst financial decision in NHL history when he signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract.

    DiPietro seems to have season-ending injuries if he sneezes too hard or gets a bruised the wrong way. The Isles are stuck with DiPietro's contract seemingly forever.

    It's really amazing that the Islanders have such a huge stockpile of young talent but have been unable to put together a decent season since their only post-lockout playoff berth in 2007.

    What's even more amazing is that soon-to-be superstar John Tavares actually signed an extension to stay with the Islanders, and at such a low price to boot. Tavares could be a 100-point-getter on a good team in the NHL and look more like Steven Stamkos. Unfortunately for Tavares, the Islanders have not provided the support Tavares needs to win. Worse for Tavares, stud playmaking winger P.A. Parenteau looks ready to cash in this offseason to the team willing to bid the most for his services.

    Snow has built a porous defense which has been bailed out by newly extended netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov's signing is somewhat of a miracle considering that Snow, for lack of a better phrase, screwed Nabokov over when Evgeni was trying to take a role as a backup keeper for the Detroit Red Wings with the hope that he could make a trip to the finals in the twilight of his career.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 75 percent

Brian Burke

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    If there's more pressure to win on anyone else in the entire NHL, then I don't know about it.

    Brian Burke caters to Canada and possibly the world's largest hockey fanbase in Toronto, where the Maple Leafs have not been to the playoffs since the pre-lockout/Mats Sundin era.

    Toronto religiously sells out games to a fanbase that is going crazy waiting for their organization to provide them with a winner.

    Like several other years, the Leafs were looking decent and on their way to a lower-seed playoff berth before they eventually unraveled and will now be given yet another top 10 draft pick.

    Burke hit home runs this season by having Phil Kessel live up to the expectations of the trade that sent two first-round picks to Boston in exchange for Kessel. One of those picks, the second overall, turned into stud sophomore Tyler Seguin. Kessel earned himself a spot among the elite scorers of the league by having a magnificent individual season.

    Burke also made a huge trade that sent former Anaheim Duck Francois Beauchimen back to Anaheim in exchange for top-line winger Joffrey Lupul and stud prospect Jake Gardiner, a young man who figures to be a staple on Toronto's blue line for years to come.

    Despite this good work, the onus for blame once again fell on shoddy goaltending in the form of a regressing James "Optimus Reim" Reimer and Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson. Neither man lived up to their nickname and both were big disappointments in Toronto.

    One of Burke's top priorities this summer will be acquiring a legitimate NHL starting goaltender, figuring out what to do with top prospect Nazem Kadri and providing the Leafs more secondary scoring with a decent checking line that can also handle the PK.

    That is, of course, unless the Leafs decide that Burke's services are no longer required.

    Chance GM is back with his team in 2012-13: 90 percent