During George McPhee’s introductory press conference he referenced the fact he’s being given an opportunity at a second chance.

I think I’ll be hopefully even better the second time around, most guys are, whether it’s coaching or managing, the second time around you are better. So I’d like to think we’ll put some really good teams on the ice and one of them will win the Stanley Cup. -Geroge McPhee

It seems like a fairly obvious concept. Get experience in one place, and have an even better idea of what to do in the next. However, when you dig into the numbers, it’s not exactly the case.

Since 1970 a total of 22 GM’s in the NHL have spent at least three years with two or more different teams. Here’s what we found about these 22 men.

  • 11 had a higher points per season average in their second stop as their first.
  • 9 lasted longer in at their first job than their second.
  • 6 went on to a third job, 5 of which had more success than job two.
  • 5  saw an increase in playoff percentage (playoff appearances/total seasons).
  • 4 averaged 92 points per season with their second team, a total that usually puts a team right on the bubble for a playoff berth.

(See graph at bottom of the page)

Not so great. If anything, the second stop has actually been tougher than the first.

Now on to another comment McPhee made.

There are a lot of GM’s in this business that have done a good job in one place, gone to the next place and won Cups. I’d like to be one of those guys. -George McPhee

Of the 22, just two went on to do it at his second stop. Craig Patrick won back to back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992 and Dean Lombardi who has won twice with the Kings. Jim Rutherford should probably be considered in this group winning last year’s Cup with Pittsburgh in just his second year as GM. Then there’s Brian Burke who won the Cup in 2007 in Anaheim and Scotty Bowman who hoisted it in 1997 with Detroit, both as GM’s for the third time in their career.

Moving on to GM’s who were elsewhere and then had the chance to take over an expansion franchise. Since 1999, four GM’s with prior experience as a GM took over year one with an expansion team. Doug Risebrough (Wild), Bob Clarke (Panthers), Phil Esposito (Lightning), and Jack Ferreira (Ducks AND Sharks) were the four representing five teams. None of them won a Cup.

This is all not to say success is not possible, because it very much is. Glen Sather, David Poile, and Dean Lombardi are three excellent examples of GM’s who were in similar shoes to McPhee in Las Vegas. Each has success in an extended tenure elsewhere and came to their new place to succeed as well.

McPhee has said all the right things since being hired in Vegas. He’s committed to growing the game in the city, he wants to build through the draft, he wants exciting teams, and he’s not willing to take on bad contacts. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be a rousing success in Las Vegas, but the idea that getting a second chance means success just simply isn’t true.

Sorry George.