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.