The NHL announced the finalists for the General Manager of the Year Award Friday, with Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens, Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks and Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings vying for the title.
The award is a funny one. As we've written in the past, can you really judge a general manager's work on the results of a single season? Bergevin and Murray were actually finalists in 2013, losing out to Ray Shero. Two of the last three winners (Shero and Mike Gillis) aren't even employed at the moment.
(And where's Jim Nill? Or Jarmo Kekalainen?)
The voting is done by the "30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media" at the end of the second round. That's new for 2014. Doing so after two rounds of the playoffs is certainly better than the day after the regular season ends. And hey, at least two of the candidates reached the Conference Final for a change.
Why Marc Bergevin Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Bergevin guided the Canadiens (46-28-8, 100 points) to their second 100-point season since 1992-93, leading the team to the playoffs for the second time in as many years as general manager. He bolstered the offense with the summer signing of Daniel Briere and also added grit with the offseason acquisitions of Douglas Murray and George Parros. Bergevin then shored up the roster with midseason trades for Thomas Vanek, Mike Weaver and Dale Weise, all of whom played critical roles in the team advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in the past five seasons.
Injuries limited Parros to 22 games, Briere played the lowest minutes of his career since 2000-01 and Douglas Murray... well, he invented the UberTab, so there's that. Weise and Weaver have been nice and Vanek, too, when he's shown up.
Why Dean Lombardi Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Under the direction of Lombardi, the Kings (46-28-8, 100 points) earned their fifth consecutive playoff berth, recorded their fourth 100-point season in franchise history and made their third straight appearance in the Western Conference Final. He solidified the team’s blue line by re-signing defensemen Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov and did the same up front by bringing back Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan. Lombardi then kick-started the club’s offense with the addition of Marian Gaborik at the Trade Deadline; after being blanked six times in 63 games prior to his arrival, the Kings were not shut out once in the final 19 contests of the regular season with Gaborik in the lineup.
The Gaborik trade is certanly looking good and Muzzin has been fantastic on their blue line.
Why Bob Murray Deserves GM of the Year
The NHL says:
Murray paved the way for the finest season in Ducks history, leading the team to its second straight Pacific Division title; the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in club history; and franchise records in wins (54), points (116), points percentage (.707), home wins (29) and road wins (25). He set the Ducks up for success by re-signing Matt Beleskey, Saku Koivu, Ben Lovejoy and Kyle Palmieri as well as enticing Teemu Selanne to return for one final season. Murray also traded for Mathieu Perreault during the preseason; added depth players in Mark Fistric, Tim Jackman, Stephane Robidas and Jakob Silfverberg; and oversaw the development of young goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.
Perreault played well after reunited with Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim. But how much credit in 2013-14 does Murray get for Andersen and Gibson? They've been in the pipeline for some time now and only got on the ice when things went wonky for Jonas Hiller.
Who Should Win GM of the Year?
Lombardi. Going off a single season, he retained key players that were part of the Cup-winning team two years ago and picking up Gaborik has been a boost to their offense.
Who Will Win GM of the Year?
Lombardi. It almost like Mike Babcock winning the Jack Adams Award, it'd be a lifetime achievement award after getting passed over the last few years.
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