Leafs looking at Muckler?

There is a lot of talk about the Leafs wanting to bring in a veteren hockey man to provide some assistance to current GM John Ferguson Jr. Apparently the Leafs tried to get Scott Bowman and even may have made inquiries to Brian Burke about whether he was interested but neither of those two want the job. The current talk is that they are now looking at John Muckler, the recently fired GM of the Ottawa Senators. The question I have to ask is why John Muckler?

To the best of my knowledge, Muckler has been GM of two teams, the Buffalo Sabres from 1993-94 to 1996-97 and the Ottawa Senators from 2002-03 to 2006-07. In his four years as GM of Buffalo his teams missed the playoffs once, lost in the first round twice and in the second round once. In Ottawa he has had a bit more success having lost in the first round once, second round once, third round once and this past season lost in the Stanley Cup finals. But, when he joined the team it was one of the most talented teams in the NHL so it’s not like he built it from scratch. Of the players on this past seasons roster most of the key players (Alfredsson, Spezza, Redden, Fisher, Volchenkov, Phillips, Emery, Schubert, Neil, Schaeffer, Vermette) were in the organization before Muckler joined the Senators and most of the players that Muckler has acquired over the past year or so the new GM Bryan Murray is desperate to let go. Comrie and Preissing are not going to be re-signed. Gerber and Corvo are being shopped to anyone willing to take on their contracts and Murray has no real interest in keeping Saprykin around who Muckler acquired at the trade deadline and gave a qualifying offer to just prior to being fired.

When one truthfully evaluates his career as a general manager in the NHL the evaluation has to be mixed at best. He has had some good teams and some not so good teams, some playoff success and some playoff dissapointments but what it all means is that it is difficult to conclude that he is one of those elite hockey minds that the Leafs want to employ akin to the Bryan Colangelo and the Toronto Raptors.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. Not much of a fan of Muckler, he was decent if unremarkable with Buffalo but I haven’t been a big fan of how he handled Ottawa.
    He’s had his moments (Moving Hossa (Amazing player btw) for Heatley was a very nice and completely unexpected move. Heatley while not the player Hossa is was much more affordable. One could argue the trade fell into his lap with Heatley’s accident, but I’ll give him credit for looking that direction.

    Beyond that I don’t see he’s done anything to really help Ottawa. He took over a fantastic young team… and their still much the same, just older and more mature. Beyond expected development of some of their players he hasn’t shown me much to believe Ottawa long run as one of the top few teams in the NHL is due to him more then his predecessor.

    I’m not particularly pleased with JFJ, but going with Muckler isn’t necessarily a clear improvement in my mind.
    Burke would be a dream scenario, he’s done nicely in Anaheim and beyond that long standing issue in goal I was quite impressed with his handling of Vancouver. Sadly that’s not an option for us.

  2. Sometimes a GM is best evaluated not by the moves he’s made but by the moves he hasn’t. At the beginning of the season he was getting all kinds of crap about not trading Alfie, and he stuck to his guns and supported him, knowing that less than $5M for a 90-100 point a season player is better than whatever he can get in return. He resisted the urge to trade Volchenkov and Vermette at the trade deadline, year after year, and Volchekov has come into his own and became a first line D (still waiting on Vermette — watch for him to be moved by Murray).

    Muckler knew he had a good team and that it didn’t need much, or anything, to be competitive. And they’ve done well because of it.

  3. I want to see Muckler in TO about as much as I want to see Bertuzzi there…..which is not at all.

    both of those rumours are giving me nightmares of unibrows and oleg saprikin

  4. I’m indifferent about Muckler, but I really like the idea of a guru to help with the operations. Finding such a person that has the ear of the board might be impossible, but at least they realize they need the decision making guidance.

  5. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. Hey toronto, u can have Muckler. He made some good decisions, but for every GOOD decision he made, there were 3 terrible decisions. The only reason Toronto needs or wants someone else is because Fergie is terrible. This is his last year if he doesn’t take the maple leafs to the playoffs. This season rests on 1 thing: Goaltending. Raycroft can’t do it. It’s going to be up to Toskala. The Maple Leafs will only go as far as he takes them.

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