Last week we looked at the Central Division, where a handful of long-time GMs are clawing at the Stanley Cup this season. But the Northwest Division is filled with new GMs. In fact, the most experienced GM is Calgary's Jay Feaster, but he took over the Flames just last year. And after that there's Vancouver's Mike Gillis, who has been at the helm since only 2008.
Outside of the Canucks, all these teams are in some type of re-building phase of their franchise, which means it's crucial for them to find high-end players with their lottery picks. However, it won't be long before these young clubs, like the Edmonton Oilers, hit their prime -- and at that point, they won't have valuable picks. To maintain success, they'll need to find talent later in the draft.
Just to review, the rules are:
1. We're not simply judging the GMs based on the quality of players they have drafted, because a guy with four top-5 picks will always fair better than someone who consistently drafts in the late first-round. So, instead, we're looking at how well they've drafted, relative to their draft position.
2. We know some GMs let their scouts make the final calls on draft day, but they are still responsible for the picks.
3. We're looking at drafts from 1990 to 2008. Recent drafts are discounted because the jury is out on the large majority of those picks.
4. Metrics are based on Tom Awad's GVT, which is an advanced stat that encompasses all aspects of the game.
This week, we have to play a slightly different game because three of the Northwest GMs didn't draft before 2008, and Gillis has had just one draft before 2008. So only Feaster can get a true assessment, which doesn't work well with our ranking format.
So for the Northwest, we'll do an overview of the GMs' drafts thus far and a look at how their predecessors did.
Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks
His "value added" rating is skewed because he had only one draft before 2008, so there's not enough of a sample size there. Outside of Hodgson and Sauve, none of his picks have played a single game in the NHL. Like many successful teams, the Canucks don't have any urgency to find talent via the draft, and they've traded away picks for immediate help. But as other teams have shown, it'll be crucial to find some strong talent outside of the lottery if they want to maintain their success.
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