No one ever wants to get branded as the worst of their profession but it is inevitable that in every job, some are very good and others, well, not so much. In the midst of one of their worst seasons in franchise history, Bryan Murray, GM of the Ottawa Senators, has to wear the dunce cap as the worst General Manager in the National Hockey League. Not even Mad Mike Milbury could top what Murray has done to Senators Nation.
This title comes to Murray based much on the value he received for his once prized free agency reward Alexei Kovalev. We all know Kovalev has been a disappointment with Ottawa, and is on pace for 37 points this season after just 49 last season. We also know that he isn't exactly known for giving it the ol' 110 percent on the ice either. But even a man on pace for a 19 goal season is worth more than a conditional 7th round draft pick.
If I told you right now that Aaron Voros is a better National hockey League player than Alexei Kovalev, would you believe me? After asking me who on earth Aaron Voros was, and after I explained that he was in fact a pro hockey player, you would probably say that you thought Kovalev was the better player.
Kovalev has 426 career goals and 1,017 career points, and has averaged about 0.84 points per game during his NHL career. Voros has exactly 37 points in 162 NHL games. In other words, what Kovalev is on pace to produce this year (19 goals, 18 assists, 37 points) is what Voros has accomplished in his entire career. Voros has scored about .23 points per game, or less than 1/3 of Kovalev's points per game. It's a no brainer that Kovalev is a better player, a much better player than Voros.
Yet according to Bryan Murray, Kovalev is not a better player than Voros. The reason being that on February 15 2011, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Aaron Voros from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional 7th round draft pick which happens to be the return Murray received for Kovalev. Voros isn't even in the NHL right now, and yet he was traded for the same thing as Kovalev.
Is Colin Fraser a better player than Kovalev? If we break it down, we will clearly see that Kovalev has more skill and production than Fraser. But the Edmonton Oilers, when trading for him, gave up a 6th round draft pick. This set of events again shows that technically, a team was willing to pay a higher price for Fraser than Kovalev meaning that the market valued Fraser more than it did Kovalev.
Based on these two examples, something clearly seems skewed in Murray's way of thinking when he made this trade. Did he forget that his owner had already invested over $7 million in Kovalev? Did he realize that between 2005 and 2008, only 19/120 players drafted in the 7th round have played a single game in the NHL? That's less than 10 percent and Murray traded a 1,000 point player for the chance to select a player who theoretically has a 10 percent chance of playing a single game in the NHL.
The idea that the Penguins were the only team interested in Kovalev is laughable. Every team gearing up for the playoffs is looking to solidify its top six and the fact that there are only a handful of bona fide sellers this year means that Kovalev's value would have increased based on supply and demand laws alone.
Bryan Murray should have easily received, at the very least, a 3rd round draft pick for a player with Kovalev's credentials and Ray Shero, GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, pulled of a major heist here. However, based on the methodology Murray uses on the trade market, it's only a matter of time before he offers two 5th round picks for Alex Ovechkin. Who knows Sens fans, maybe there won't be a rebuild after all.