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What’s the best GM-Coach combo in the NHL?

Jan 26, 2012, 11:57 AM EDT

holland babcock

John Boruk of CSN Philadelphia has compiled a pretty interesting list, ranking all 30 NHL general manager/coaching combos.

“The two most important off-ice positions of any NHL franchise are the general manager and the head coach,” Boruk writes. “GMs will be busy right up to the trade deadline and coaches will be feeling the pressure as the postseason draws closer.

“Which pair would you want leading your franchise?”

Leading the way on Boruk’s list is the Detroit duo of GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock. No real surprise here — the Wings have made the playoffs every year since 1997 (the season Holland took over GM duties) and have been to two Stanley Cups under the Babcock regime, winning one.

Second on the list? That’d be Boston’s Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien. They’re responsible for the reigning Stanley Cup champs, built largely around three major decisions — signing Zdeno Chara and making him team captain, sticking with goalie Tim Thomas after he lost his starting gig and the Phil Kessel trade, which netted them Tyler Seguin and highly-touted junior prospect Dougie Hamilton.

Rounding out the top five GM-coaching duos are: Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma, Philadelphia’s Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette and Vancouver’s Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault.

As for the bottom five…a couple of surprises, though not at the bottom:

No. 26 — Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff and Claude Noel

No. 27 — Edmonton’s Steve Tambellini and Tom Renney

No. 28 — New York Islanders’ Garth Snow and Jack Capuano

No. 29 — Montreal’s Pierre Gauthier and Randy Cunneyworth

No. 30 — Columbus’ Scott Howson and Todd Richards

To see the full list of where all 30 GM-coaching duos rank, check out CSN Philadelphia Flyers Talk.

  1. challer9 - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    The last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs was 1989-90.

    • Mike Halford - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      Sorry, that sentence was worded funny. Meant to say they’ve made the playoffs every year under the Holland regime. It’s been tweaked to reflect that. Thanks for the heads-up, though.

  2. ThatGuy - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    He kind of rakes Fletcher over the coals a little bit. Apparently he doesn’t realise that when Fletcher came in, the Wild had absolutly nothing in their cubbard due to Risebrough. Fletcher stated three years ago it had to start with the farm team, and now they have one of the best prospect systems in the game. It hasn’t resulted in much success on the ice at the NHL level but its coming.

  3. bigtganks - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I think Canucks should be up a spot or two, but the Hawks at 9 and Blues at 13? Both should be higher. Hawks probably top 5 as well at least.

  4. Rob - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Bottom 5 is absolutely no surprise at all

  5. greggoldberg - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I know it’s from CSN Philly, so I’m not that surprised, but Holmgren/Laviolette at #4 is silly. I’d drop them a bit, maybe to the 7-10 range.

  6. tmoore4075 - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    A little early to put Winnipeg’s tandem on the bottom five but I guess hard to move them up for the same reason.

    I think the list is pretty accurate.

  7. rgledz - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Stan Bouman and Coach Q should be in the top 5. No question about it.

    • danphipps01 - Jan 26, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      Except Dale Tallon actually built Bowman’s Cup-winner for him. Bowman’s a man I have a lot of respect for, believe me, but let’s list a few names Tallon was responsible for acquiring: Toews, Kane, Sharp, Versteeg, Campbell, Hossa, Havlat.

      Recognize any of ‘em? Yeah, Bowman’s good at his job, and Quenneville’s good at his, but Tallon built the Blackhawks team that won the Cup. Bowman inherited what was already there. He’s an astute guy, but he’s not had to do much to prove himself with the war machine he was given when he started the job.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM

        Bowman also inherited a serious cap problem. He had to deal away nearly half of the skaters, and maneuver around two bad contracts (Campbell and Huet). The fact that he got anything worthwhile back in the deals and that Chicago is back in serious contention in just a year (while still not missing the playoffs) is an impressive start.

        Tallon built the team, but he’s also the reason the Hawks had to firesale right after winning the Cup in 2010 is precisely the reason he’s no longer the GM.

        I believe we’ll find out whether or not he is Top 5-worthy by the end of the trading deadline. Regardless, Coach Q is solid.

      • danphipps01 - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:33 AM

        True. True. Tallon definitely went for a one-hit wonder. Bowman taking what was left and making something happen is definitely commendable.

  8. jpelle82 - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    philly at 4 is a little biased there. for an all or nothing grab for bryz he looks like a fool right now. should get knocked down a few pegs just for that signing. i do give credit for getting rid of carter and richards and couturier was a good draft pick. letting lupul go was a mistake, jagr looks like a bum, schenn has a long long way to go but hasnt done anything to impress…and dont forget that injury proned pronger debacle…lol have fun eating that one.

    • tcclark - Jan 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      you can’t blame Holmgren or Lavy for anything that you’ve said. Trading Lupul was not a mistake. They traded him for Chris Pronger who lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in his first year. That alone makes it a good move. Not to mention the fact that, when healthy, Pronger is still one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Jagr is the same thing. When healthy, he has been a point per game player. he was on that pace before this string of injuries. Schenn has had a concussion and a couple other fairly serious injuries, but when healthy he has impressed. Recently he’s been scoring a lot more and playing much more aggressively. Are you seeing a pattern?

      As for Bryz, it is tough to perform when so much is expected of you. He has been a confident goaltender everywhere he’s been so it’s not like Holmgren or Laviolette could have predicted his “lost in the woods” comment. Just like they can’t predict injuries. I think you’re looking for Ms. Cleo.

  9. donttouchthedirtypenny - Jan 26, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Ruff and Regier at 16? Too high.

    • leninthebuff - Jan 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      14-15 yrs together and they have won diddley squat

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