No matter the sport, some General Managers are just made to take advantage of other General Managers. Some times it is a mixture of a smart decision and a lucky break, Orlando Magic’s GM Rob Hennigan was smart to deny the Lakers offer of C Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard and was proven right because of Bynum’s lost year in Philadelphia and the play of some of the young pieces he received. Other times it is a good GM taking advantage of over-valued pieces in the sport to capitalize on maximum value, i.e. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane and his constant flipping of closers and relief pitchers for valuable young position players. Even sports with much less trade activity, like football, have this when de facto GM Bill Belichick trades away back-up quarterbacks that have never played, for 2nd and 3rd round picks. Someone must be the fool.
There is one more that is just such a blatant job of thievery by one GM that it needs to be laid out. Congratulations Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, you have made a fool out of San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson. No, this isn’t a big name trade, the Blackhawks did not acquire Jarome Iginla or Rick Nash (that’s for you people that know hockey players). The key here is how Stan Bowman went about completing the Handzus trade with Doug Wilson.
Let’s start at the beginning of this series of unfortunate events for San Jose. On June 23, 2012, the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks agreed to a trade that would send the Sharks’ 7th round pick, the 191st overall in the 2012 draft, and their 4th round pick in 2013, as of now the 111th overall pick, to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Chicago’s 4th round pick in 2012, the 109th overall pick. Essentially, the San Jose Sharks wanted to move up to select C Christophe Lalancette, a D probability of success prospect according to hockeysfuture.com.
Fast forward to today…April 1st, 2013…April Fool’s Day, and we have a fool in our midst. Today, the Blackhawks and Sharks agreed on another trade. The Sharks are sending established C Michal Handzus to the Blackhawks for…you guessed it…Chicago’s 4th round pick in 2013. The same pick acquired from the San Jose Sharks. I’m not at all concerned with the terrible season that Michal Handzus is currently having, he provides cheap veteran depth on a team making a Stanley Cup run. What interests me is that the San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson traded away a pick that he then traded a player to get back a year later. Stan Bowman positioned the Blackhawks to acquire a veteran piece for a playoff run without losing out on any rounds of the draft. He didn’t need to draft a player in 2012 because of his young core and reinforcements coming like Brandon Saad.
Stan Bowman just rented a pick from Doug Wilson and then turned around and sold it back to him for a profit. Like I said, this is not a crazy deal because of the names or picks involved. Almost all the pieces are rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but on April Fool’s Day of all days, a GM just sold a team’s draft pick back to that team for a profit. Tough sell Doug Wilson…tough sell.