Saturday, May 17, 2008

Florida Panthers Renew GM Jacques Martin

In the NHL today many teams are firing coaches and GMs, such as Toronto, Vancouver and San Jose. In many of these cases, the fired man did not do a bad job. He is merely a fall guy for a season where the team was perceived to have failed in their goals.

The Florida Panthers are different. They have not made the playoffs since 2000, yet they have re-signed GM Jacques Martin to a four year contract. Martin is signed until 2012. Martin has been coach of the Panthers since 2004 and GM since 2006. Some portion of that failure is his fault. The Panthers did finish well this season. They stayed in the playoff race until almost the end of the season, which represents an improvement. Martin made a good trade with Nashville acquiring Tomas Vokoun for draft picks, which was a big reason for this improvement. However, it is a questionable move to sign him up longterm given his track record.

Should Florida have a poor season next year, they might want to fire Martin; however his contract might make that move unlikely. Florida did not need to sign Martin for as long a period as they did. Doing so is a mistake.

In general, the best way to build a winning team is to hire a good hockey man as GM and leave him alone to run the team. The question in Florida should be has Martin proven he is that hockey man. I don't think the answer is yes (although he hasn't clearly proven the answer is no either). Florida is choosing to go with Martin longterm despite any questions. If he cannot do the job, it will keep the Panthers from contention for the next several years.

Here is TSN's story on the signing.

1) The Panthers had enough talent to make the post season, again. they perennially start out slowly then come on and just fall short EVERY year!
2) The ownership should have cleaned house and started with a new GM who could have hired a good coach. martin in our opinion, is not the guy to build down from.
3) Lets see if he makes the best of his first/biggest off season decison: Hiring a new coach. Our vote is for Joel Quenville.
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