The NHL announced the finalists for the General Manager of the Year Award, as Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens, Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks and Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins will battle for the award given to … well, they never really established the criteria for this thing, did they?
Were it not for the Lady Byng and the Mark Messier Leadership Award, this would be the NHL’s dumbest postseason accolade. From the NHL, the skinny on the voting:
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, with more detail on format to be released at a later date.
“Hold tight everyone, we’ll explain exactly how Bob Murray became a finalist for GM of the year at some point …”
As we’ve griped before, it’s impossible to judge a general manager’s accomplishments based on (a) one season and (b) one regular season, as the winner of the award is established before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two of the three GMs nominated built teams that were good enough to lose in Round 1. Pop the champagne.
Third gripe: Why doesn’t this award have a namesake? And why isn’t that namesake Bill Torrey?
Who wins GM of the year?
Why Marc Bergevin Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Under the direction of Bergevin, in his first season as an NHL general manager, the Canadiens were the NHL's most improved club. After finishing fifth in the Northeast Division and 28th in the overall League standings in 2011-12, the Canadiens (29-14-5) rallied to clinch the Northeast title and the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed on the final day of the 2012-13 season. Bergevin hired Michel Therrien as head coach for his second stint behind the Canadiens’ bench; selected C Alex Galchenyuk with the third overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft; strengthened the roster with summer signings D Francis Bouillon, LW Brandon Prust and RW Colby Armstrong; and acquired RW Michael Ryder in a midseason trade.
The Therrien hiring alone should make Bergevin a front-runner for this prize. It changed the psychology of the team, and it was a gutsy play to bring in a retread. The Prust move remains one of the better ones from Summer 2012.
Why Bob Murray Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Murray oversaw a Ducks club that enjoyed its finest regular season in franchise history, capturing the Pacific Division and No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a club-record points percentage (.688, 30-12-6). He strengthened Anaheim's goaltending by signing Sweden native Viktor Fasth as a free agent last May. Fasth went 15-6-2 with a 2.18 GAA, .921 save percentage and four shutouts in his debut season in North America. Murray also bolstered the defense corps with the offseason signings of Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen and midseason trade for Ben Lovejoy. In addition, he enticed forward Teemu Selanne to return for a 20th NHL season and signed forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to eight-year contract extensions.
Again, the Fasth move was from May 2012 so … what, that falls under this award’s scope? Murray did some nice patchwork on an Anaheim blueline that played above its talent level. That said, if a “B. Murray” was going to be up for GM of the year, one expected it would be the guy in Ottawa.
Why Ray Shero Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Shero made key additions to an already-strong roster throughout the year that helped propel the Penguins (36-12-0) to a playoff berth for the seventh consecutive season, their first Atlantic Division title since 2008 and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He obtained center Brandon Sutter and goaltender Tomas Vokoun in offseason trades and later brought RW Jarome Iginla, LW Brenden Morrow, C Jussi Jokinen and D Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh in deals leading up to the trade deadline. Pittsburgh reeled off 15 consecutive victories from March 2-30, the second-longest winning streak in NHL history and the League’s longest winning streak in 20 years.
The biggest player at the trade deadline obviously gets a nomination here, but especially when you factor in the Vokoun and Sutter acquisitions.
Who Should Win GM of the Year?
Bergevin. If we’re going with a single season as evidence, with his hiring of a coach and reshaping the roster to that coach’s strengths, then it’s his award to win among this field of candidates.
Who Will Win GM of the Year?
Shero. He stole Iginla from the Bruins! That’s some high-quality GM’n, right?