There are still a few substantially long-tenured GMs today who have had mixed runs. But it is not commonplace like it was when the likes of Jack Adams, Tommy Ivan, Lester Patrick, Art Ross, Frank Selke and Conn Smythe ran Original Six front offices.
Instead, the presence of more teams has allowed general managers to charge up more noticeably mixed transcripts by virtue of a great run with one franchise and an egregious stint with another. For instance, Brian Burke helped to bring a Stanley Cup to Anaheim in 2007, but later failed to end Toronto’s protracted playoff drought after three-plus years of trying.
More teams equals a greater quantity of established and aspiring executives, just as it is with players and coaches. Everyone is easier to replace than they were in the six-team days.
In turn, it is easier for GMs to pay a price in the form of their job. They now stand out like a prom night pimple when they set a team back by being too trigger-happy with a coach, making one questionable trade too many or standing idle too long to move a team forward.
Dating back as many as four decades, when expansion franchises started gaining traction, here are the 10 NHL GMs who have had the most forgettable stints with a specific team.