The Year In Review: Grading Each Pacific Division GM’s Performance Over The Last Year


General Managers around the NHL have been busy in the past year with free agency, trades, and the draft. While some teams like the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights have added superstars such as defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Mark Stone, respectively, others have been unloading contracts in an effort towards rebuilding. NoVa Caps grades every GM’s performance by division since the end of the 2017-18 season. Today, we continue our series with the Pacific Division.

Calgary Flames

In: Dalton Prout, Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Cam Talbot, Milan Lucic, Alan Quine, Derek Ryan, Head Coach Bill Peters

Out: James Neal, Garnet Hathaway, Curtis Lazar, Anthony Peluso, Oscar Fantenberg, Mike Smith, Troy Brouwer, Michael Ferland, Adam Fox, Dougie Hamilton, Tanner Glass, Nick Shore, Chris Stewart, Kris Versteeg, Eddie Lack, Mark Bartkowski, Head Coach Glen Gulutzen

The Flames built a Western Conference regular-season champion roster with the moves they made last summer, which was highlighted by acquiring Lindholm and Hanifin from the Carolina Hurricanes. Beyond that, they have been relatively quiet other than a swap with the Edmonton Oilers exchanging bad contracts, acquiring Lucic and dealing Neal. The Flames are good enough to contend in the West for the next few years but they could use a legitimate starting goaltender as there are questions involving the tandem of Talbot and David Rittich.

Grade: B

San Jose Sharks

In: Prout, Erik Karlsson, Jonny Brodzinski, Lukas Radil

Out: Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Braun, Chris Tierney, Joakim Ryan, Micheal Haley, Mikael Boedker, Dylan DeMelo, Eric Fehr, Jannik Hansen, Paul Martin

The Sharks acquired arguably the best player on the market in the past year in Karlsson but have also lost a lot of talent in Pavelski, Nyquist, and Donskoi over that time. Like the Flames, there are goaltending concerns in San Jose. They could also bolster their bottom-six forward group as it is relatively inexperienced. With cornerstones like Karlsson, defenseman Brent Burns, and center Logan Couture still there, the Sharks are still a Stanley Cup Playoff team but not as good as other contenders in the West.

Grade: C

Vegas Golden Knights

In: Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Valentin Zykov, Garret Sparks, Nicolas Roy

Out: Neal, Erik Haula, Oscar Lindberg, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare, Daniel Carr, Ryan Carpenter, Brad Hunt, Colin Miller, David Perron, Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, Luca Sbisa, David Clarkson

The Golden Knights have made some roster upgrades after making the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, acquiring Stone, Pacioretty, and Stastny and locking all of them up to long-term contract extensions in the past year. The additions came at a cost, though, as they have had to give up some of their best prospects in Brannstrom and Suzuki and have had to shed salary, trading key contributors during their run to the Final. Miller, Haula, and Bellemare all left for little return due to salary cap constraints. The team’s offense is as good as any in the league but they could use another top-four defenseman after trading Miller away.

Grade: B

Arizona Coyotes

In: Phil Kessel, Michael Grabner, Nick Schmaltz, Carl Soderberg, Jordan Oesterle, Dane Birks

Out: Alex Galchenyuk, Max Domi, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome, Pierre-Oliver Joseph, Josh Archibald, Jordan Martinook, Tobias Reider Nick Cousins, Laurent Dauphin, Mario Kempe, Jordan Weal, Kevin Connauton, Calvin Pickard, Zac Rinaldo, Adam Clendening, Luke Schenn, Scott Wedgewood

The Coyotes have made a lot of changes since finishing the 2017-18 season with 70 points, which was last in the Western Conference, as they have acquired Kessel and Schmaltz. Their blueline and the goaltending tandem of Kuemper and Antti Raanta are both solid. The acquisition of Kessel should improve their offense, which was 27th in the NHL last year, and make them a bubble team in the Western Conference. But since they are competing with so many good teams, it will be hard for them to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

Grade: B+

Vancouver Canucks

In: Fantenberg, Micheal Ferland, Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn, J.T. Miller, Tanner Pearson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Tyler Graovac, Quinn Hughes, Tim Schaller

Out: Darren Archibald, Markus Granlund, Brendan Leipsic, Michael Del Zotto, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Derrick Pouliot, Luke Schenn, Marek Mazanec, Ryan Spooner

The Canucks have had a busy year, to say the least, as they’ve bolstered their top-six forward group with the additions of Miller, Ferland, and Pearson; their bottom-six forward group with the additions of Beagle, Roussel, and Schaller; and their blueline with the additions of Myers, Benn, Hughes, and Fantenburg. They are deeper at all positions of the ice and have some talented young forwards with Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat in the mix. With tough competition, all Vancouver needs is time and they should be competing for a playoff spot in the next 2-3 years.

Grade: B-

Anaheim Ducks

In: Del Zotto, Daniel Sprong, Derek Grant, Nicolas Deslauriers, Andreas Marthinsen, Devin Shore, Carter Rowney, Brendan Guhle, Anthony Stolarz, Head Coach Dallas Eakins, Chris Wideman

Out: Schenn, Corey Perry, Brendan Montour, Pontus Aberg, Andrew Cogliano, Marcus Pettersson, Joseph Blandisi, Adam Cracknell, Brian Gibbons, Jake Dotchin, Andrej Sustr, Andy Welinski, Chad Johnson, Jared Boll, J.T. Brown, Jason Chimera, Chris Kelly, Nicolas Kerdiles, Logan Shaw, Antoine Vermette, Chris Wagner, Francois Beauchemin, Kevin Bieksa, Retto Berra, Head Coach Randy Carlyle

The Ducks have lost a lot of depth in the past year and have not adequately replaced it, though they acquired a nice piece in Sprong from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Pettersson. Their core is getting older and there are questions involving their defensive depth and offense, which finished the 2018-19 season as the worst in the NHL with an average of 2.39 goals-per-game. The Perry buy-out was a painful step for many long-time Ducks fans, but it was a necessary move. They also sold off some key pieces like Montour at the trade deadline. Anaheim has one of the best goaltenders in the game in John Gibson but has damaged the depth in front of him in the past year.

Grade: D

Edmonton Oilers

In: Neal, Smith, Archibald, Granlund, Alex Chiasson, Tomas Jurco, Kyle Brodziak, Sam Gagner, Colby Cave, Evan Bouchard, GM Ken Holland

Out: Lucic, Reider, Spooner, Aberg, Zykov, Wideman, Talbot, Stolarz, Drake Caggiula, Ty Rattie, Ryan Strome, Jason Garrison, Kevin Gravel, Andrej Sekera, Mike Cammalleri,  Laurent Brossoit, GM Peter Chiarelli

The Oilers have been relatively quiet in the past year besides acquiring Neal from the Flames for Lucic and signing Chiasson and Smith. They have two of the best centers in the league with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the mix but lack depth on the backend. Edmonton also has questions in goal as Smith and Mikko Koskinen is their projected tandem to start the season. The Oilers have failed to make the necessary changes after missing the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and will likely have to pay for it once again.

Grade: C-

Los Angeles Kings

In: Ryan, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Frk, Alex Turcotte, Carl Grundstrom, Sheldon Rempal, Blake Lizotte, Head Coach Todd McLellan

Out: Brodzinski, Leipsic, Pearson, Reider, Fantenberg, Gravel, Jake Muzzin, Carl Hagelin, Dion Phaneuf, Nikita Scherbak, Andy Andreoff, Torey Mitchell, Nate Thompson, Christian Folin, Head Coach John Stevens

The Kings have not made any changes to their aging core but have executed some depth moves over the past year. Their biggest change came behind the bench with McLellan replacing Stevens. They also sold Muzzin and Hagelin at the trade deadline for draft picks and prospects. With an aging core and little changes to an offense that finished 30th in the NHL last season (an average of 2.43 goals-per-game), the Kings will likely be a lottery team once again in 2019-20 but have some nice young talent upfront with Grundstrom, Turcotte, Adrian Kempe, and Alex Iafallo in the mix.

Grade: D

Previous GM Report Cards

Metropolitan Division

Atlantic Division

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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5 Responses to The Year In Review: Grading Each Pacific Division GM’s Performance Over The Last Year

  1. Day One Caps Fan says:

    48 Days til Capitals’ Training Camp!

    Excellent analysis again, H B! Edmonton has addition-by-subtraction where M Lucic was mired in death-spiral career slump. Lots of talented Centers and Forwards, but they can’t keep the Net out of their Puck

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