To be a successful NHL general manager, one must have at least five eyes in his head—literally, of course.
First is an unquestionable eye for young, budding talent. You can't build a championship-contending team without knowing how to stock minor league affiliates with potential stars of tomorrow. That means building a great personnel and scouting department, and then going after the youngsters that most fit your team's style of play, personality and jelling with the other guys around him.
Second, still in the talent vein, you must be a master of looking at available free-agent talent and see what may fit within your organization. Sure, a team can be made or broken when you lay out megabucks on a guy who ultimately doesn't perform up to expectations, but there are other free agents that will be the final piece of the puzzle, the ones that complete things hopefully en route to a Stanley Cup championship.
Third, you must be a master of the deal. In other words, if your team has a marked weakness in an area, you always have to keep that eye open for players that may be available for the right price or talent exchange.
Fourth, in addition to watching over all the various forms of talent, you have to keep an eye on your coach. Is he getting the job done? Will the players run through a brick wall for the big guy on the bench? Can he motivate a team first into the playoffs and then all the way to the Stanley Cup Final?
Fifth and last, but not least, you have to keep your eyes on every other team in the league. What are they doing? Are there any trends to keep up with? Who's hot? Who's struggling? Who is unhappy and may want a change of scenery (perhaps leading up to a trade with your team)?
Here's the 10 GMs that deserved to be known as "the best" in the NHL, and why.