New Mustangs GM gets fired on just the 11th day of his tenure
June 10th, 2011
Tom Schmansky didn’t last a summer, let alone a winter, as coach and GM of the Mustangs franchise.
Hired less than two weeks ago, Schmansky was abruptly fired Friday in his 11th day on the job. His legacy will be the shortest GM stint – 11 days – in AFHL history, shattering [former Hitmen GM] Grahame Booth’s record of 97 days.
“This is a decision made by me, I felt that I had no choice,” AFHL Commissioner Anthony Furino said about the dismissal of Schmansky. “It’s obviously a mistake made on my part to have made a decision in hiring him without having done a complete and proper interview that could have been done, should have been done.”
Furino said the conflict with Schmansky involved the flurry of big, lop-sided trades he made in such a short period of time. In his first trade, he sent goaltender Jaroslav Halak to Hollywood for Devante Smith Pelly and a second round draft pick. In his last trade, he tried sending all-star forward Rick Nash and all-star goalie Jonas Hiller to Victoria for Nick Foligno, Artem Anisimov, Jason Akeson, Spencer Machacek, and Rob Schremp.
“The trade made absolutely zero sense for the Mustangs especially after Schmansky already dealt Halak,” North Bay GM Mike Brunetta said. “Maybe if he was getting some blue-chip prospects in return but he’s not. The only nice piece is Artem Anisimov but he doesn’t make up for the rest of the deal. If you look at the Mustangs depth chart, Anisimov would be slotted behind Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron, and Brandon Sutter which means Anisimov would be a bench player.”
Several other GMs in the AFHL agreed with Brunetta’s view, including Toronto GM Jordan Carbone.
“Makes no sense at all,” Carbone said. “This guy is taking a cup contending team and ruining it. All he had to do is make some minor trades. Even if he made no trades at all, the current roster would have contended for years to come with the core Blake Wilson built. He’s basically throwing it all away for nothing. Howard, Hiller, and Halak were the best goalie tandem in the league. Okay, so he traded Halak, we’re all over that. But now for him to also trade away Hiller and not get a goalie in return is just f*cked. To rely on just Howard or any one goalie in this league is a recipe for disaster. Ask Buffalo GM Daryn Beckman how he felt when Craig Anderson went down last season.”
Carbone also pointed out the goaltending depth on Victoria’s side of the deal.
“Victoria has Carey Price, Steve Mason, Devan Dubnyk, and Jack Campbell as top goalie options. At least one of those goalies should be going back to Windsor. For Schmansky to trade Nash and Hiller and not get a goalie in return is just stupid.“
Montreal GM Keith Cancilla described it as brutal.
“It’s brutal,” Cancilla said. “I would have traded way better prospects for Nash and Hiller. The trade has to be vetoed. There’s no value going back to the Mustangs. Two proven players for a bunch of prospects.”
When the commissioner was asked how he felt about Schmansky’s approach to trading, he said his main priority should have been to get the biggest return while filling a need.
“Running a franchise in the AFHL is just like running a business,” Furino said. “You always want to look at all of your options before you make a big decision. Before you trade any superstar player, you’ve got to make contact with as many GMs as possible so you can be certain that you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck. Clearly, Schmansky did not do that. So despite his commitment to me that he could work in this environment, his flurry of big trades in less than two weeks, in the offseason with no reason to rush, expressed to me his philosophical opposition to winning in the AFHL.”
Schmansky did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
“We appreciate the time and effort Tom has put into his two week tenure here in the AFHL,” Furino said. “He’s a good man but unfortunately he’s got the right skill set for the wrong league. We wish him all of the best in his future endeavors.”
Furino added that he will hire another new GM for the Mustangs franchise by the end of next week.