Maybe not the most popular take but at the end of the day, imo most of the blame falls on the good - top tier players in the league. Obviously this is the worst crop of owners the league has ever had (it's not even debatable) but in every season prior there's always been a few people who shouldnt be owner. Im not sure there's ever been a season where every Owner was at least respectable. This is why I dont think NML can be 100% blamed because there's still and always will be enough good players in the league and yet all people do is complain that bad players are owner. Just need people willing to step up to the plate. I totally understand that management is not for everyone but although you accept responsibility for the team, it does not take much effort to be a "do nothing" free contract. The important thing is finding 1 or 2 people willing to put in the work to actually run the team. Even if 2 top tier players want to be free contracts but do not want most of the responsibility of managing, there are plenty of players who are 3rd line players that would be great paid AGM's. Obviously trust is a big issue but as a top player, would you rather trust a 3rd liner as your paid agm while you and your duo are free contracts? Or would you rather have a 3rd liner as your free contract owner with his (likely) not great free contract GM while you take up 1/3 of the team's cap space? Dont get me wrong, some of the current Owners probably wouldnt even be viable 500k - 2M paid AGM options, but their are guys out there who are. Problem is I feel like alot of guys get a bad rep for what they've done as owners but they're at a huge disadvantage being a 3rd liner as a free contract. Putting together a good team with that kind of disadvantage isnt easy. Put those guys in a paid AGM role with 2 good free contracts and things will probably be different. There's always a ton of posts from owners looking for a good GM and allowing them to build their own line. Maybe a post looking for a "potential" paid agm that can build their own 500k-1M 3rd line would help good players find someone that can take care of the management work for them. I've been out of the league for a while (My knowledge on player skill and management ability is obviously decreasing) but imo with the current ownership group there are 11 who should 100% be an Owner/Free Contract. 7 who I think would be fantastic AGM's but also very viable options as owner. Maybe not top line talent, but have been around for a while and/or have good management experience. 9 who I think would be great support 2nd/3rd line 500k - 2M Paid AGM's but really shouldnt be a free contract. Finally I see 5 owners who probably shouldnt be in the NHL, let alone managing an NHL team. Pair 14 good duos with the 9 potentailly good 500k - 2M AGM's that are currently Owner + other potential good cheap AGM's out there (There's alot) and the league becomes much more competitive. Just not enough top players willing to put their ego's aside, step up to the plate and trust a cheap AGM so instead they're stuck trusting them as their owner instead which makes the league less competitive.