There are many ways in determining what makes a good NHL general manager. Sometimes it's rebuilding an organization that has fallen on hard times and turning it back into a contender. Or it could be maintaining a team that has been successful year in and year out through shrewd drafting and a timely trade.
Among the GMs who have made their mark early in the 2010-11 are the guys in charge of Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia, which is coming off a Stanley Cup Final appearance, surprising Tampa Bay, looking to get back in the playoffs after a three-season absence, and surging Phoenix, which wants to build off its breakthrough campaign of a season ago.
There are 30 general managers whose work this season has only just begun, but NHL.com's Brian Compton handicaps the early race for top executive.
Paul Holmgren, Philadelphia Flyers --
The architect of a team that was already built for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Holmgren found ways to improve his squad both prior to and during the early part of the 2010-11 season. The free-agent signing of Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovksy could end up being the steal of the century in Philadelphia as Bobrovsky has flourished as the club's No. 1 goaltender. Not only do the Flyers find themselves in a first-place tie in the Eastern Conference, but Holmgren has signed Jeff Carter
and Claude Giroux
to extensions in the past month.
Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay --
It didn't take very long for the Hall-of-Fame player to change the culture in Tampa Bay. Yzerman tabbed Guy Boucher
, just 38, as coach less than a month after landing his first job as a GM. With additions such as Simon Gagne
up front, Brett Clark
on defense and Dan Ellis
between the pipes to go with superstars such as Steven Stamkos
and Martin St. Louis
, the Lightning are primed to contend in the Southeast Division all season long.
Don Maloney, Phoenix --
Despite a heavy payroll, the Coyotes' GM continues to find ways to keep his team competitive. The Coyotes took a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's match against Edmonton. Free-agent acquisition Ray Whitney
leads the team with 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in 18 games and the team found a way to survive without captain Shane Doan
, who missed several games through suspension and injury.