In the book “Behind The Moves,” Jason Farris spoke with NHL General Managers past and present about how they conduct business and to tell stories about their lives in hockey.
Neil Smith talks about how he had a chance at Pavel Bure but didn’t want to pay the price.
“There was a deal on the table for Pavel Bure when [Brian] Burke was in Vancouver, and he was shopping Bure to us and Florida….Burkie wanted [Manny] Malholtra, [Dan] Cloutier, and some other young guy which was like stripping me of what I thought at the time were my best guys. I was trying to rebuild the team, and [Wayne] Gretzky was on the team and now Pavel Bure was available, so our owners here wanted me to do everything I could to get Bure. They were new owners and they didn’t understand that you had to do [to rebuild]. I was like, ‘No fucking way. I don’t want this guy. Even if I could get him on the team for free, I’m not going to do it.’…That’s what ultimately led to the end of me [as Rangers GM]. [Owners Charles and James Dolan] didn’t analyze the club to see [where I had] brought it since 1989. They just said, ‘Today. Today. Today.’….They went out and got Glen [Sather] and paid him a bunch of money, and he got rid of all of my young guys and brought in all old guys. And they missed the playoffs for four more years.”
Bure was traded to Florida in 1999 with Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a third round pick for Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes and Florida’s first round pick in 2000.