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Hodgemail: Which NHL general manager is the best trader?

TSN.ca Staff
2/3/2012 9:45:39 AM
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It's getting down to the wire for NHL general managers.

On Monday, Feb. 27 they will be front and centre on trade deadline day, looking to make the right deals to help their team make a playoff run, or in some cases, get the team into position to become an eventual contender.

While Brian Burke gets plenty of attention for his active approach in trying to improve his teams, there are also other GMs in the league who have successful track records.

And it's no coincidence that their teams are among the top teams in the NHL.

Take Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks. At last year's trade deadline, he made two depth moves - acquiring Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre - that were integral to the Canucks reaching the Cup final.

Boston GM Peter Chiarelli swung a pair of deals that helped shape a Cup winner. His trade of Phil Kessel landed them a draft pick that turned into Tyler Seguin, who was a key contributor to the Bruins' championship season. He also stabilized the blue line by picking up Tomas Kaberle.

Ken Holland has made a living out of snagging key pieces to keep the Detroit Red Wings one of the premier franchises in the league for more than a decade. His list of pickups over the years includes Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi.

And Flyers GM Paul Holmgren wasn't afraid to deal two cornerstones of his team this offseason, dealing captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and getting Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek

So with the trade deadline looming, here's Dave's question to you: Which general manager is the NHL's best trader?

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Mike suggests Dale Tallon for his work in building a Stanley Cup nucleus in Chicago and now for his amazing work in Florida.

Matthew writes Ray Shero snagged Marian Hossa from Atlanta, got Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz to help Pittsburgh's '09 Cup win and James Neal is the latest feather in Shero's cap.

Erin submits this bit of frivolity. Once you've decided who the best trader is, send him to Montreal.

Kevin says Paul Holmgren makes Philly fans slack-jawed and they wind up admitting that he knows what he's doing; see the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades.

Jimmy votes for Glen Sather for the Scott Gomez trade alone.

And now the names most frequently mentioned:

Bradley suggests just during his time with the Leafs, Brian Burke has made too many good trades to list all of them.

Ryan counters with Peter Chiarelli for Peverley and Kelly and Horton and Campbell, never mind the trade with Toronto.

And Dave's Reply to All:

Well, I have Chiarelli and Burke in a virtual dead heat, but this isn't about the Phil Kessel trade, so let's leave it aside, or use it to support Chiarelli  if you wish.

As Burke admits, "Pete's wearing the newest, shiniest Stanley Cup ring and Tyler Seguin's got one, too."

Nevertheless, it is hard to top Burke's trading record, for the following reasons: his wheeling and dealing that allowed the Canucks to land both Sedins was masterful. Burke has his Stanley Cup ring from Anaheim and the trade for Chris Pronger helped him get it. And his big Toronto deals not involving Kessel were ones that gave the leafs Ottawa's favourite all-stars - Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul - clear wins for Burke.

The Leafs have to do more winning to make Burke the NHL's best general manager, but if you wanted a GM to make a trade, I think you'd pick Burke, just ahead of Chiarelli.

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