This is a picture of two men who have been the target of unrelenting criticism during their terms as General Managers. John Ferguson Jr. (on left) was pilloried in the media right up until the day he was semi-fired, at which point the media switched from criticizing his record to criticizing the way the Leafs handled his firing. In any other city, the owners would have been applauded. In Toronto, the owners are so inept that they can muddle the firing of a poor GM to such an extent that the fans turn on them. Good thing I'm not a Leafs fan.
The other fellow is Larry Pleau, of the St. Louis Blues, and a guy that I have had to shake my head at repeatedly. If you can't get more for Chris Pronger than Brewer, an fallin prospect (Woywitka) and an injured prospect (Lynch), maybe being an NHL GM isn't for you. Then he goes and makes two trades, both of which clearly illustrate that he can still occasionally school the opposition (and, incidentally, Pleau is still GM, not John Davidson, as inaccurately reported all over the place).
The first trade sent career 3rd/4th liner Jamal Mayers to the Maple Leafs (building for the future by dumping draft picks) for a third-round pick. Mayers played tough opposition all year, but he also got eaten alive in the role, similar to Jarret Stoll this season. His numbers weren't great shorthanded either, despite averaging over 3 minutes per night in that role.
The second trade was with Nashville, where Pleau sent a 4th round pick to the Predators for Chris Mason, marking the third time in the last couple of seasons St. Louis has picked up a goalie on the cheap, hoping for a rebound. The results to date (Lalime, Legace) have been mixed. I had pegged St. Louis as a potential destination for Dwayne Roloson, but if I were offered the choice between Roli and Mason, I know which way I'd go. From the Nashville perspective, it seems clear that the team plans to make Dan Ellis the man, something that seems a little risky given that he posted an .894 SV% in the AHL in 2006-07. Given the two year, 6M contract that kicks in for Mason next season, this was presumably a salary dump. Even so, you'd think Mason would be worth more than a 4th round pick. Also, given that Nashville will be playing St. Louis 8 times this season, the potential of this to backfire has to be a little worrying.
Taking these two trades, I'm willing to make a pair of statements:
1) Raffi Torres is worth a 2nd round pick, and possibly even a little more.
2) Dwayne Roloson will be an Edmonton Oiler until the 2008 trade deadline.