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Ray Shero: Pros and Cons


Triumph
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Now that we've all settled in with the news, I thought it was time to examine Ray Shero's tenure as Pittsburgh GM from a broad perspective.

 

Pros:  Unafraid to make the big trade.

 

Shero made a huge splash to get Marian Hossa in 2008, figuring his team was ready to make a run, and weirdly he wasn't wrong.  Shero dealt Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito (Pittsburgh's 1st round pick in 2007) and their 1st round pick in 2008 for Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.  Had he managed to re-sign Hossa in Pittsburgh, that could've been a special team - Hossa's one of the best players in the league and a spectacularly underrated talent.  It shouldn't be lost that Pascal Dupuis has been a solid contributor in Pittsburgh for many years after that trade, and on a cheap contract (at least at first - Dupuis was resigned to a 3 year 4.2M deal and produced 47 goals over those 3 seasons.

 

Trading Jordan Staal away, while a move I'm not in love with, has prepared the Penguins for at least a decent future.

 

Pros:  Understands something about player value

 

Shero moved Ryan Whitney and Alex Goligoski for large returns - both Whitney and Goligoski were overvalued because of their point totals but neither is a top pairing defenseman.  He got great returns on each, especially Goligoski - Niskanen turned out to be as good as Goligoski and then there was James Neal.

 

Signing Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan both were solid moves. 

 

Pros:  Has been successful in not allowing players to walk

 

Kris Letang was threatened with a trade and signed a contract to stay in Pittsburgh. Jordan Staal didn't and was traded.  Now that the Devils don't really have any valuable players besides Larsson who are close to UFA, it doesn't matter, but at least this will quiet one section of the fanbase.

 

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Cons:  Doesn't understand goaltending

 

Signed Marc-Andre Fleury to a massive 6 year/30M deal after his run to the Cup Finals in 2008 - Fleury had had a good season and great playoff but up to that point had been an average goalie.  In fairness he did try to correct this by signing Tomas Vokoun but Vokoun had health issues.

 

Cons:  Has not had a significant contribution from a UDFA

 

This one's hard to pin on him, but the Penguins just haven't found a guy like this, and this has been the Devils' bread-and-butter for a very long time.  They found Mark Letestu and then treated him like found money, trading him to Columbus for a 4th round pick inexplicably.  Ben Lovejoy was also undrafted and became a 3rd pairing D there.  Deryk Engelland was drafted but went unsigned by the Devils, and Pittsburgh eventually found a role for him. 

 

Cons:  Was unable to beef up Penguins bottom six

 

In 2009, the Penguins claimed Craig Adams off waivers from Chicago.  I wouldn't be surprised if Craig Adams is the longest-tenured player in the NHL with one team who acquired him via waivers - SOMEHOW he was still a Pittsburgh Penguin 6 years later.  Not even counting this season, Craig Adams ranked last in points/60 among forwards with 3000 minutes over that time.  Second to him was Tanner Glass, someone who also spent considerable time in Pittsburgh.  His territorial play is slightly better than that, but it's still not great.  Brandon Sutter has also been pretty awful as a 3rd line center, something that often gets glossed over.  Regardless, this is a huge issue for the Devils because they have bottom six issues and lots of young players who could maybe fill in on bottom 6 roles, and they're simply not going to have an above-average top 6 forwards probably ever unless they totally collapse this season.

 

Cons:  Overvalues stay at home D men

 

Deryk Engelland, Douglas Murray, Hal Gill, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi.  This is a problem with the rest of the NHL, but trading 2 2nd round picks for Doug Murray even in a wildly overvalued trade market is a terrible trade.  I'm becoming more convinced that most of these guys just cannot have a role for you at all - with how little penalties are being called these days, their role on the PK is diminishing, and they just destroy offense 5 on 5.  I fully expect the Devils to end up with a bag of sh!t like Tim Gleason next season.

 

Cons:  Traded away lots of draft picks

 

The Penguins didn't have a pick in the first 3 rounds in 2008.  They didn't have a 2nd round pick in 2010 or 2014.  They also didn't have a 1st in 2013.  They had 2 1sts in 2012 but they sure weren't able to give their organization a shot to draft a lot of talent.  In fairness, Shero basically started from scratch in 2006 - yes he had Crosby and Malkin but the Penguins had almost no players in their prime or close and so it's tough to have excess talent in that situation, talent that can be dealt for draft picks.  

 

Cons:  Drafts focused almost exclusively in North America

 

I've said before that I don't like evaluating general managers based on drafts, but in the drafts overseen by Shero - 2006 to 2013 - the Penguins drafted 5 players who were playing outside North America at the time.  It's really hard to beat the market on junior hockey players, and so I don't like that kind of organizational blindness. 

Edited by Triumph
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i see a lot more positives than negatives and overall i think most of his moves that are seen as "bad moves" now, are "mostly" moves that didnt pan out and was somewhat out of his hands. Some looked bad on paper right from the get go and some the player just didnt bring what he was supposed to. 

 

and as for the bottom 6 thing... it can't be a problem really cause that's all we have, bottom 6 forwards playing bigger roles than they should. So onc we're more balanced we technically should have an above average bottom 6.

 

Edit: also i'd like to think that a bunch of those moves were "decisions" he took based on the situation of the team and not taking a certain decision cause that's the path he's always following like Lou seemed to be doing at times.

Edited by SterioDesign
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i see a lot more positives than negatives and overall i think most of his moves that are seen as "bad moves" now, are "mostly" moves that didnt pan out and was somewhat out of his hands. Some looked bad on paper right from the get go and some the player just didnt bring what he was supposed to. 

 

and as for the bottom 6 thing... it can't be a problem really cause that's all we have, bottom 6 forwards playing bigger roles than they should. So onc we're more balanced we technically should have an above average bottom 6.

 

I see a lot of parallels 

 

A. Inability to draft forwards

B. Inability to hold onto biggest UFA (Parise for Lou and Hossa for Shero)

C. Overvaluing stay at home dmen (To Lou's credit, he has gotten away from this)

D. The focus on NA players

 

The owners made a big mistake forcing Lou upstairs, he had a plan, and was executing it quite well. The Devils have tons of cap space going forward, they have an elite goalie, and a stable of young d-men. I hope Shero doesn't botch the groundwork Lou has put in place.

Edited by William D'Aquila
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Listen, you hated Lou, that's clear, but you don't need to blindly defend Shero's past just because he did a few things you liked that Lou didn't do. His mistakes are his mistakes just like Lou's mistakes are his own. Don't give the benefit of the doubt to one and not the other.

 

Okay, very nice job Tri. I'll add only what I read from a Pens blog, and just post what this fan wrote.

 

 

 

Another Shero mistake as Pittsburgh’s GM was the fact that he neutered his own good work. He did draft some really good young defensemen. He just never game them the opportunity to play. Entry level contracts are one of the best assets an organization can have in the hard cap NHL. Pittsburgh went out of their way to not use this advantage . Shero liked to sign and acquire veteran defensemen, most of which who were not any better than what he already had and cost him future assets (sometimes trading 3rd round picks just for UFA rights IE: Dan Hamhuis).

The 2012-13 season was a glaring example of this. Instead of playing Simon Despres Shero decided to trade two(!) second round picks for Doug Murray and sign Mark Eaton off of his couch. Both players were below replacement level and unnecessary. 

His love of Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi used up both cap space and roster spots even though each player was/is very replaceable. Rob Scuderi was brought back to “babysit” Kris Letang and be the steadying presence for the pairing which makes no logical sense at all. The complete opposite is true. This is a contract that is still killing the Penguins to this day.

Shero isn’t the first general manager to let loyalty bite him in the butt. Just look at the situation in Los Angeles that has the Kings paying out 11.63M each year to Dustin Brown and Mike Richards until 2019-20.

 

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Ryan-Wilson/What-Are-the-Devils-Getting-With-Ray-Shero/177/68428

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Yeah, the mismanagement of Simon Despres and subsequent trading of him for Ben Lovejoy seems like a terrible move.  I know Shero didn't trade him, but the organization as a whole clearly didn't trust him and that bled over into this season. I fully expect Despres to become a solid NHL defenseman who contributes offensively, physically, and takes a few too many penalties.  

 

Overreliance on veteran defensemen is just a killer in today's NHL.  There are so many brutal 30+ D out there.  So like I said, get ready for Tim Gleason.

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Regarding his obsession with stay at home defensemen, he did draft players like Pouilot and Maata, both of whom don't seem to fit that mold, so if his mindset was to focus on stay at home defensemen, it might be something he's learned from.  He also signed Paul Martin to a pretty good UFA deal, and he doesn't fit that mold.

 

With the Jordan Staal trade, it was also pretty clearly an attempt to clear salary to be able to sign Parise to a big contract.  While his deal might be a headache in the longer term for Minnesota, right now he's definitely lived up to it. 

 

ADDENDUM:  The other thing to keep in mind is that Shero won't be working from the ground up here, and the Devils do have at least what could be a very good group of young non-Salvador-esque defensemen.  So even if he still has the inclination to overvalue aging/stay at home defensemen, there won't be much room for many of them, barring some kind of trade, which from what he's said, it doesn't look like he's interested in doing. 

Edited by Daniel
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Listen, you hated Lou, that's clear, but you don't need to blindly defend Shero's past just because he did a few things you liked that Lou didn't do. His mistakes are his mistakes just like Lou's mistakes are his own. Don't give the benefit of the doubt to one and not the other.

 

Okay, very nice job Tri. I'll add only what I read from a Pens blog, and just post what this fan wrote.

 

 

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Ryan-Wilson/What-Are-the-Devils-Getting-With-Ray-Shero/177/68428

 

i am not "blindly" defending Shero's past at all. I think you didnt understand what i was saying.

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Regarding his obsession with stay at home defensemen, he did draft players like Pouilot and Maata, both of whom don't seem to fit that mold, so if his mindset was to focus on stay at home defensemen, it might be something he's learned from.  He also signed Paul Martin to a pretty good UFA deal, and he doesn't fit that mold.

 

With the Jordan Staal trade, it was also pretty clearly an attempt to clear salary to be able to sign Parise to a big contract.  While his deal might be a headache in the longer term for Minnesota, right now he's definitely lived up to it. 

 

ADDENDUM:  The other thing to keep in mind is that Shero won't be working from the ground up here, and the Devils do have at least what could be a very good group of young non-Salvador-esque defensemen.  So even if he still has the inclination to overvalue aging/stay at home defensemen, there won't be much room for many of them, barring some kind of trade, which from what he's said, it doesn't look like he's interested in doing. 

 

I was under the assumption that Martin has been a bust in Pittsburgh. 

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I see a lot of parallels 

 

A. Inability to draft forwards

B. Inability to hold onto biggest UFA (Parise for Lou and Hossa for Shero)

C. Overvaluing stay at home dmen (To Lou's credit, he has gotten away from this)

D. The focus on NA players

 

The owners made a big mistake forcing Lou upstairs, he had a plan, and was executing it quite well. The Devils have tons of cap space going forward, they have an elite goalie, and a stable of young d-men. I hope Shero doesn't botch the groundwork Lou has put in place.

 

about B. Shero did it that time with Hossa for wtv reasons but Lou did it really really often (and thats not even considering Parise at all) its a pattern. Sure they might have both failed at it on those occasion but Lou did it way way way more frequently 

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I was under the assumption that Martin has been a bust in Pittsburgh. 

 

From what I can tell, it's been up and down.  At the time, it was thought of one as one of the best free agent signings of that year.  But the point is more that Martin was not, at the time and still isn't, the type of defensemen Tri suggests that Shero is obsessed with, or it might show that he's over that obsession. 

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From what I can tell, it's been up and down.  At the time, it was thought of one as one of the best free agent signings of that year.  But the point is more that Martin was not, at the time and still isn't, the type of defensemen Tri suggests that Shero is obsessed with, or it might show that he's over that obsession. 

 

Martin was a great signing. It's just his qualities are not that obvious to the average fan just like they weren't to Devils fans when he was here. In 2009, 5/$25 was a big contract, and the term puck moving defenseman meant racks up a ton of points/PP QB, etc when really that isn't the case. If people thought they were getting someone who racks up points, he was a disappointment. Other than that, you couldn't ask for a better free agent defenseman signing at 29 years old.

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Martin was a great signing. It's just his qualities are not that obvious to the average fan just like they weren't to Devils fans when he was here. In 2009, 5/$25 was a big contract, and the term puck moving defenseman meant racks up a ton of points/PP QB, etc when really that isn't the case. If people thought they were getting someone who racks up points, he was a disappointment. Other than that, you couldn't ask for a better free agent defenseman signing at 29 years old.

 

Without the benefit of following Pittisburgh that closely, the ups and downs of his tenure there weren't so much a result of him not putting up a lot of points.  His point totals have been pretty steady throughout, and at varying times he has been a goat and other times not. 

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Martin was a great signing.  Shero is still clearly obsessed with defensive D.  Martin's reputation among the Pittsburgh fanbase is terrible, but that's because of the goaltending behind him - he was fine.

Edited by Triumph
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But will Shero, or did he in Pittsburgh,  have any infatuation with bringing former players back like Lou did to finish their careers.........and usually poorly?

 

Yes.  He brought back Mark Eaton and Rob Scuderi and both were horrendous moves.  Can't think of anyone else off the top of my head - it was tough because the Penguins really didn't have guys in their prime when Shero took over  - but signing Rob Scuderi was an awful, awful move that the Penguins are still paying for.  Somehow he still has 2 years left.

Edited by Triumph
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So according to you, Brandon Sutter is bad. He's probably the most underrated Pen. A two-way center who scored 21 goals and led them with 4 shorthanded goals as a great penalty killing threat is the problem. Jordan Staal is completely overrated. Talented. Sure. But he hasn't stayed healthy and is streaky. Fyi Sutter was one of the Pens' most consistent forwards against the Rangers in the first round. 

 

Fleury had a very good year and was excellent in the postseason. If you want to critique Shero, go after the way he built the rest of their team. It's paper thin. Rutherford took over and gave away Despres for Lovejoy.  Do the Pens even have a goalie prospect in their system? The problem with Pittsburgh is they're way too reliant on Crosby, Malkin and Letang. You can't just surround them with mediocre talent. The concussion to Letang killed them. And Malkin was a shell of himself in the postseason.

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So according to you, Brandon Sutter is bad. He's probably the most underrated Pen. A two-way center who scored 21 goals and led them with 4 shorthanded goals as a great penalty killing threat is the problem. Jordan Staal is completely overrated. Talented. Sure. But he hasn't stayed healthy and is streaky. Fyi Sutter was one of the Pens' most consistent forwards against the Rangers in the first round. 

 

Fleury had a very good year and was excellent in the postseason. If you want to critique Shero, go after the way he built the rest of their team. It's paper thin. Rutherford took over and gave away Despres for Lovejoy.  Do the Pens even have a goalie prospect in their system? The problem with Pittsburgh is they're way too reliant on Crosby, Malkin and Letang. You can't just surround them with mediocre talent. The concussion to Letang killed them. And Malkin was a shell of himself in the postseason.

 

A lot of people would tell you that Neal, Kunitz, Sutter, Martin, Niskanen and Maata is a really strong core. Fleury let them down in 4 straight playoffs. Sometime you can overcome bad goaltending (their 2009 Cup win), sometimes you can't.

 

Sure, he could have used the cap a bit better, and drafted any forwards to plug in the lineup, but it was goaltending that doomed them more than anything else.

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So according to you, Brandon Sutter is bad. He's probably the most underrated Pen. A two-way center who scored 21 goals and led them with 4 shorthanded goals as a great penalty killing threat is the problem. Jordan Staal is completely overrated. Talented. Sure. But he hasn't stayed healthy and is streaky. Fyi Sutter was one of the Pens' most consistent forwards against the Rangers in the first round. 

 

Fleury had a very good year and was excellent in the postseason. If you want to critique Shero, go after the way he built the rest of their team. It's paper thin. Rutherford took over and gave away Despres for Lovejoy.  Do the Pens even have a goalie prospect in their system? The problem with Pittsburgh is they're way too reliant on Crosby, Malkin and Letang. You can't just surround them with mediocre talent. The concussion to Letang killed them. And Malkin was a shell of himself in the postseason.

 

Sutter scored 21 goals - great.  He played 17 minutes a game - where's that rank him in terms of ES goals/60?  Not bad - he's 134th among forwards who played 400 or more minutes this season.  He also had 12 assists - where's that rank?  Well, down near the bottom - 333rd out of 386.  And indeed this isn't a one off thing - Sutter's just not a very good passer.  He's also not a very good territorial player so that hurts.  The Penguins will probably pay him big money for whatever it is they think he does, and he's a nice goal scorer, but he doesn't do a ton of other stuff.  He's exactly the kind of player you have to avoid paying money to - because he's Canadian and has that name, you might think he's real good at other stuff, but he's not.  The Penguins (or someone) will pay him as though he is.

 

I feel pretty similarly about Adam Henrique - in fact I think they're quite similar players, though Henrique is clearly better.

Edited by Triumph
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I can go along with everything you said Tri. Sutter is a shoot first center that can get you 20 goals. He's primarily a checking player that's good in all three zones. The Pens lack quality depth. They got one hotshot prospect they drafted recently. The D has a couple of young players. Primarily Pouliot. Unless they figure out a way to surround their core with more talent, they can't be taken seriously as a contender. 

 

Fyi i like the Shero move for the Devils. He's young enough and has experience. It's the right move. I think you should only judge him on what he does with their rebuild. They have to get younger up front. The goaltending is solidified. Good young D. Maybe he dangles a defenseman for a forward. 

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Martin was a great signing. Shero is still clearly obsessed with defensive D. Martin's reputation among the Pittsburgh fanbase is terrible, but that's because of the goaltending behind him - he was fine.

Martin has been their best and most consistent defenseman two years running. He was terrible for a stretch a few years back but once people look past Letangs flashiness, Martin has been overall more dependable and consistent.

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The owners made a big mistake forcing Lou upstairs, he had a plan, and was executing it quite well. The Devils have tons of cap space going forward, they have an elite goalie, and a stable of young d-men. I hope Shero doesn't botch the groundwork Lou has put in place.

What exactly was LL's plan?  overpaying 30 somethings that cannot keep up in the new NHL??  He made some great moves, stealing Corey, but he has alos had some huge busts, Ryder, etc..  and yes we have an excellent stable of young D men, but he never figured out how to score in the New NHL...The game has passed him by abit

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