Contention windows in the NHL are fickle and unpredictable. Teams launch themselves head-first into miserable rebuilds and emerge excited about playoff runs that never materialize; perennial contenders fall off the map and into the lottery with little to no warning; star players break out and fall apart; payrolls become suffocated by former franchise players’ huge cap hits.
Given all this uncertainty combined with the limited tenure of general manager jobs, competitive teams face a ton of pressure to sacrifice the future for the present, maximizing what opportunities they have to win now. This in turn allows organizations lacking in talent to be more patient, upwardly redistributing their top players to playoff teams and accumulating assets.
A few weeks back, Danny Heifetz and Riley McAtee of