Some owners absolutely love ex-players. They love them so much they’ll hand them senior management roles, even when their resume is no longer than their stats line.
As THN’s Ken Campbell pointed out on Friday, star power doesn't necessarily translate to management success, especially when it comes to the latest executive hires, Vancouver’s Trevor Linden and Toronto’s Brendan Shanahan. Both had plenty of on-ice success, but have no experience running a hockey team.
Just because a guy can put the puck in the net doesn’t mean he knows how to manage a franchise. But just for fun, here’s a look at the teams with the most career NHL points now working in the front office.
But first, a note: the list is limited to four skaters per team (no goalies) and only includes guys actually involved in managing the team. That means presidents, general managers, assistant GMs and every variation of the ‘hockey operations’ title you can imagine, but no community ambassadors, player development guys or scouts.
10. Detroit Red Wings– 1,312 points
Call them the franchise that started the trend of giant management teams. They may have lost Steve Yzerman and Jim Nill in recent years, but Detroit still has plenty of hockey experience in the front office. They love giving ex-players jobs in management – though they don’t name those players president. Chris Chelios is an advisor to hockey operations in Motown, while Kris Draper is special assistant to the GM. Don’t you just love hockey executive titles?
9. Philadelphia Flyers– 1,533 points
GM Paul Holmgren’s 323 points and senior vice president Bob Clarke’s 1,210 give the Flyers plenty of faded firepower. And that’s not even counting the goals assistant GM Ron Hextall scored.
8. Vancouver Canucks – 1,724 points
Adding Trevor Linden's 867 career points just doubled management scoring in Vancouver. Stan Smyl, senior advisor to the GM, has 673 career points, while assistant GM Lorne Henning brings 184 of his own.
7. Colorado Avalanche– 1,772 points
Even with Patrick Roy left out and Adam Foote too far down the management depth chart to count, the Avs have lots of NHL experience. As executive vice president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic brings 1,641 points of his own, while advisor Pierre Lacrox adds 131 from his playing days.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins– 2,066 points
Chalk most of those points up to Mario Lemieux, the Penguins’ owner and chairman. Next to Lemieux’s 1,723 career points, assistant to the GM Tom Fitzgerald’s 329 points are a drop in the bucket. GM Ray Shero adds a tiny bit with five career goals and 14 points of his own.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs– 2,093 points
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the reason this list is capped at four executives per team. While GM Dave Nonis never played in the NHL, VP of hockey ops Dave Poulin and VP and assistant GM Claude Loiselle had long careers (724 and 616 games, respectively). Then there’s that Shanahan guy with his 1,524 career games, 656 goals and 1,354 points. If playing experience in management wins championships, the Leafs are in good position going forward.
4. Los Angeles Kings– 2,171 points
The Kings have a pair of long-serving, high-scoring former stars in their organization. Luc Robitaille is now president of business operations for the Kings, while Rob Blake is assistant general manager to Dean Lombardi.
3. Carolina Hurricanes– 3,062 points
Carolina? Really? Yes, the Hurricanes operate on a low budget and don’t have nearly as many suits as the Leafs or Red Wings, but they also like to keep long-serving ex-players around. After former goalie Jim Rutherford, the Hurricanes have a trio of veterans on staff. Ron Francis is vice president of hockey ops, while Cory Stillman is director of forwards development and Glen Wesley is director of defensemen development. Those are two titles you won’t see anywhere else.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning– 3,239 points
With Steve Yzerman as the general manager, Pat Verbeek as assistant GM and Tom Kurvers working as a senior advisor to Yzerman, the Lightning have a ton of NHL experience in the front office. They also have the second-most games played by a management staff at 3,597. Carolina has the most (4,213).
1. St. Louis Blues– 3,734 points
The Blues have three hockey legends on staff. Brett Hull brings 1,391 points as the team's executive vicep president, while the VP of hockey ops is Dave Taylor, who spent much of his career playing alongside Marcel Dionne. Former Blues blueliner Al MacInnis also works there as senior advisor to head honcho Doug Armstrong.