After all, for the diehard fan, the terrible trades and signings are every bit as memorable as the great ones. What Red Wings fan can ever forgive the Adam Oates for Bernie Federko deal? Canuck fans can trace their woes back to the housecleaning trades of early 1998, when Vancouver swept Martin Gelinas, Kirk McLean and Mike Sillinger out of the locker room for basically scraps. Certainly last season's winner in this category had to be the Boston Bruins, for giving up on Joe Thornton and then watching him lead the league in scoring.
So who left a turd in the punchbowl for their fans this summer? The nominees are...
1. Mike Keenan may have left the Florida Panthers building, but the effects of the Roberto Luongo deal will last for quite a while. One of the top young goalies in the game was dealt for a troubled power forward who may be ill-suited to the New NHL, a raw defenseman, and a middling young netminder who has yet to prove himself. Ugh.
2. In these days of salary cap management, sometimes talent is a secondary concern when making a deal. Nonetheless, methinks Colorado Avalanche GM Francois Giguere will dread sending Alex Tanguay to a division rival for years to come.
3. The Chicago Blackhawks are perennial contenders in this category, and their entry this year is GM Dave Tallon's deal that sent their leading scorer from last season, Kyle Calder, to Philadelphia for C Michael Handzus. Handzus is a good role player for a contending team, but the Blackhawks are a long ways from that.
4. The Detroit Red Wings may well regret signing free agent Dominik Hasek and letting Manny Legace walk away to St. Louis. Hasek is 41, flip-flops on whether he wants to play or retire, and has had injury troubles, playing only 57 games in the last three seasons. Legace came into his own as a starting goaltender last year, and while he hasn't tasted playoff success yet, that can always change. Just look at Dwayne Roloson...
5. Edmonton Oiler fans barely had time to enjoy their team's run to the Stanley Cup finals before watching the roster get torn apart by trades and free agency. Chris Pronger, Michael Peca, and Sergei Samsonov all headed for greener pastures, and while the Oilers got some young players and draft picks in return, I'm afraid it'll be a few more years before we see much noise coming out of GM Craig MacTavish's squad.
So who's going the 2006 Offseason Least-Valuable GM award? Only time will tell.