This one should be fun. Tonight, I'm going to analyze just what is so wrong with Pierre Lacroix that makes alot of fans hate him. Now that he's openly back in a managerial position, let's see if recent history says he should be there.
There seems to be the conception that Lacroix had lost his touch before stepping down, so lets look at his managing wizardry in his final three seasons as GM (2003-2006). First, the relevant trades:
Bates Battaglia (Radim Vrbata)
Derek Morris, Jeff Shantz and Dean McAmmond (Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle)
Andrei Nikolishin (4th round pick 2004)
Karlis Skrastins (3rd round pick 2004)
Keith Ballard (Steve Reinprecht)
Peter Worrell and a 2nd round pick in 2004 (Eric Messier and Vaclav Nedorost)
Steve Konowalchuk and a 3rd round pick in 2004 (Bates Battaglia and Jonas Johansson)
Kurt Sauer and a 4th round pick in 2005 (Martin Skoula)
Tommy Salo and a 6th round pick in 2005 (Tom Gilbert)
Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen and a 2nd round pick in 2005 (Derek Morris and Keith Ballard)
Jose Theodore (David Aebischer)
Jim Dowd (4th round pick in 2006)
Boy, is that a bad lot of trades. Wow. The smaller ones (like Skrastins for a 3rd) aren't so bad, and in many cases are actually steals. However, those aren't enough to overpower the bad ones: the Gilbert trade, the Drury/Yelle trade, the Morris for Gratton trade, and the Theodore trade.
I'll admit, the there's no defending the Theodore trade. Lacroix took a gamble, and lost. I can defend one trade and put a positive spin on the other two, though:
The Drury for Morris trade at the time was fair. Lacroix saw something in Morris, and it paid off at first: he scored 11 goals and 48 points in his first season with Colorado. However, Jacques Cloutier had his usual effect on defensemen and Morris has since become a 2nd pairing guy who's bounced around the league (Phoenix - New York - UFA).
The Gilbert trade looks real bad right now. Luckily, there's a chance it may pay off in the near future because the 6th round pick was used to draft Miami University standout Justin Mercier, a player who will hopefully crack the Avalanche line-up in the near future. Just something to think about if he ends up being a great checking line player for us.
The Gratton/Morris trade has a similar result as the Gilbert trade, except this time in the form of Paul Stastny. Basically, Lacroix redeemed himself (and then some) but drafting Stastny after essentially trading Chris Drury for Chris Gratton. So all in all, this was a good trade. Unless of course you'd rather have Chris Drury at 7 million a year, or Ballard and Morris instead of Stastny. It can be argued that the Avalanche would have drafted Stastny anyway, but the fact remains the pick came from this trade.
All in all, let's give his trading a C+. Yes, there were some huge blunders, but the majority of trades benefited the team.
Part 2 will cover Lacroix's drafting over the 2003-2006 drafts.