After announcing one set of finalists for awards per day back in April, the finalists for the final award were revealed by the NHL today. The list of contenders for GM of the Year is down to three with Don Sweeney (Boston), Doug Armstrong (St. Louis), and Don Waddell (Carolina) being the nominees.
The reason for the delay in revealing the top three is that voting for this award doesn’t take place after the regular season. Instead, it’s conducted at the end of the second round and is voted on by all 31 general managers, a group of league executives, and the media.
While some teams have opted to make bigger moves, Sweeney opted to primarily supplement Boston’s depth, a decision that has certainly helped out. Jaroslav Halak’s addition allowed them to rest up Tuukka Rask a bit more and they’ve been rewarded for that so far in the playoffs while late-season pickups Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have made an impact as well. The Bruins finished third overall during the regular season and could punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final later tonight which certainly helped sway some votes in his favor.
Armstrong was among the general managers to make a big swing on the trade front with their acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly from Buffalo back in July. The move paid immediate dividends as the 28-year-old had a career year with 77 points which led the team in scoring. Jordan Binnington has provided them with stable goaltending and the decision to part ways with head coach Mike Yeo to replace him with Craig Berube (a finalist for the Jack Adams Award) has certainly worked out well.
Waddell was certainly buoyed by Carolina’s presence in the Conference Final. The Hurricanes have had quite the year in his first season as GM and they pulled the trigger on a pair of significant trades, sending Jeff Skinner to Buffalo plus Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm to Calgary. Carolina also effectively rebuilt their goalie tandem with the signing of Petr Mrazek and the waiver claim of Curtis McElhinney; the two have combined to give them well above average goaltending for the combined price of an above average backup netminder.
The winner will be revealed on June 19th at the annual NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.