The Colorado Avalanche fired vice-president and general manager François Giguère on Monday. leaving team president Pierre Lacroix to act as GM until a replacement is found.
"The results of this season are unacceptable," Lacroix said in a release.
"We are too proud of what we have accomplished in this market to ignore where we are and what happened in just a very short period of time. Ownership and the dedicated Avalanche fans throughout the region deserve better results."
Colorado (32-45-5) finished last in the NHL Western Conference standings this season, the first time that has happened since the former Nordiques moved from Quebec City in 1995.
"Obviously, we all played below our capability," winger Ian Laperriere said. "We should have played better and done our jobs better.
"Anyone that goes home thinking they did their job is fooling themselves. Everyone could have done more and should have done more."
Since Giguère took over as GM in May 2006, the Avs have gone 120-107-19 and made the playoffs only once, in 2007-08, when they were swept by Detroit in the first round.
Granato a question mark
There was no word on whether head coach Tony Granato will be back behind the bench next season. He would be heading into the second year of a three-year contract.
"When you finish a year like this, you want to start the next year right away," Granato said.
"I think this team has to come back with an edge next year, right at the start of training camp. You want to get back out there and find a way to turn it around as fast as you can."
Whomever Lacroix picks to manage the Avalanche next year has a lot of work to do. The team faces huge salary cap issues for next season, with 13 players signed through 2009-10 at a total cap hit of $43.4 million US, which will make it tough to make any significant off-season moves.
Colorado captain Joe Sakic's future also remains uncertain.
"That's obviously a priority — find out what Joe's intentions are," Granato said. "As soon as he gives us that, we'll be able to find out what else we can do to try and improve over the summer."