Feb 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma during practice the day before a Stadium Series hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Bylsma Believes Ray Shero Was 'Top Three' GM In Hockey

Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero are no longer with the Pittsburgh Penguins. They haven’t been for a while now.

In their tenures with Pittsburgh, Bylsma won the Jack Adams Award (best coach), and Shero won General Manager of the Year. They each earned a Cup victory in 2009, and both played heavy roles with Team USA this past February – Bylsma (head coach), Shero (GM).

Their achievements run long, but because Pittsburgh suffered a fifth consecutive playoff meltdown to seeds lower than them, Bylsma and Shero took the fall.

Shero’s firing was arguably more surprising though.

That GM of the Year award Shero was blessed with, he earned it in 2013, the year prior to last season’s debacle. Sacking your GM is one thing, but relieving him of his duties the year after being deemed the best in the biz is utterly uncommon.

And according to Bylsma, Shero was certainly in the top three of all GMs.

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently sat down with the former Pens’ head coach, to which Bylsma relayed he had nothing but great fondness for Shero.

Here’s what he told Rossi about Shero:

“I think we were a model. We had stability, great stability. From ownership, from within the organization, with our players. I was fortunate to coach in a stable situation, and I shared that vision with my general manager — and I coached for a great general manager.

If Ray Shero wasn’t the best GM in hockey, he was definitely top three. That’s what I believe.”

Shero was a mad scientist. Constantly orchestrating deals for the betterment of the team, Shero was, by in large, Pittsburgh’s greatest asset for a number of years. Which is why his departure was stunning, to say the least.

Arguably the busiest man in front offices across the NHL landscape, Shero is perceived by Bylsma correctly. Regardless of how the season ended, and if some moves didn’t work out, Shero was still a phenomenal GM during his time with the Penguins.

Not only did he give them a chance to win every year, he integrated prospect depth and helped contribute in drafting some premier players.

Agreed, Mr. Bylsma. Top three at least.

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