The Winnipeg Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff, Vegas Golden Knights’ George McPhee and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steve Yzerman have been named finalists for the GM of the Year award, as voted by a panel of league executives and members of the media.
Unlike the league’s different notable awards, the GM of the Year honor isn’t determined following the common season. Rather, the conclusion of the second spherical is the cutoff for the high GM honor, which, amongst different issues, permits for a greater understanding of how deadline-day strikes made by a GM impacted a company. Thus, it’s no shock to see three of the 4 GMs from conference finalist golf equipment earn the high three spots in voting. None of the three GMs acquired to this place the similar method, although, which ought to make for an fascinating end result. And with out additional ado, right here is the case for every finalist:
THE CASE FOR CHEVELDAYOFF
It wouldn’t be apt to name this a lifetime achievement award, however Cheveldayoff’s candidacy is the end result of extra than simply his dealings throughout the previous marketing campaign. Rather, it’s the Jets GM’s complete physique of work since arriving in Winnipeg that sees him in the working for the end-of-year honor.
Since touchdown the job as the architect of this second go-round for Winnipeg in the NHL, Cheveldayoff and his complete workers have been centered on constructing a sustainable basis and long-term success by drafting and creating. That paid dividends this season, too, as 4 of the Jets’ high 5 scorers had been Winnipeg draft selections — Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor — and main scorer Blake Wheeler is a participant who has taken the biggest strides in his improvement whereas with the Jets. Over the previous a number of seasons, he’s grown from a succesful top-six ahead to a official point-per-game scoring risk and consummate chief.
That’s not to say Cheveldayoff didn’t make the strikes needed to increase his crew when the time was proper. The acquisition of Paul Stastny at the commerce deadline offered Winnipeg with further depth down the center and helped play a task in the Jets getting previous the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in the second spherical of the post-season. His signing of Dmitry Kulikov offered Winnipeg with extra defensive depth throughout the marketing campaign, and backup Steve Mason, although he’s had a rocky season, has had a hand in serving to push Connor Hellebuyck, who’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and one other Cheveldayoff draft selection.
THE CASE FOR McPHEE
Win or lose in the first spherical, second spherical, third spherical or Stanley Cup remaining — heck, miss the playoffs altogether — McPhee had doubtless punched his ticket to a spot amongst the GM of the Year finalists by the time the all-star break rolled round and Vegas was in place to lock up a post-season berth. Nothing was anticipated of these Golden Knights following the growth draft, but they’ve continued to shock the hockey world.
Really, at this level in the marketing campaign, McPhee’s candidacy for the award can mainly boil down to 4 offers he made forward of the growth draft. Those strikes embrace accepting a deal to purchase Reilly Smith from Florida and the subsequent growth draft choice of Jonathan Marchessault, swinging a commerce with the Columbus Blue Jackets that resulted in the choice of William Karlsson and the settlement to choose Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Those 4 gamers, significantly the ahead line, had been the cornerstone of Vegas’ common season success, and Fleury has been the spine of the Golden Knights’ playoff run.
Really, although, the complete roster from high to backside was seemingly picked with a sure play type in thoughts, as a result of Vegas performs an up-tempo sport with a dogged forecheck that’s constructed round crew pace. And one facet of McPhee’s job in Vegas that may’t be neglected is his hiring of Gerard Gallant. Where the Golden Knights can be with out their bench boss, who has now a 147-88-32 report and 12-7 playoff report over his previous 4 seasons as an NHL bench boss, is anybody’s guess. So, yeah, being the GM of the Seattle franchise could actually find yourself being the worst job in hockey.
THE CASE FOR YZERMAN
Some may take a look at Yzerman’s candidacy and counsel he didn’t actually do all that a lot to spruce up his roster. After all, a wholesome Steven Stamkos actually is the greatest distinction between the roster the Lightning iced for a lot of the season and the Tampa Bay group that failed to earn a post-season berth throughout the 2016-17 marketing campaign.
Those inquisitive about giving credit score the place credit score is due, nevertheless, will observe that Yzerman was lively sufficient to earn his place amongst the league’s top-three GMs. His summer time commerce of Jonathan Drouin for Mikhail Sergachev was fairly the deal, significantly when contemplating the 19-year-old defender stepped proper out of main junior and into the NHL and went almost point-for-point with Drouin. Whereas Sergachev scored 9 targets and 40 factors in 79 video games — as a rookie defender, it’s value reminding — Drouin completed the marketing campaign with 13 targets and 46 factors in 77 contests.
Yzerman’s pre-season dealing helped deliver the Lightning some success, to make sure, however it’s his deadline-day transfer that would probably deliver Tampa Bay its second Stanley Cup in franchise historical past. As the NHL’s commerce freeze set in, Yzerman and the Lightning acquired Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers, a transfer to bolster the blueline and top-six, whereas delivery Vlad Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden and a 2018 first-round choice the different method. There’s additionally a conditional decide included, one that would change into a 2019 first rounder ought to the Lightning win the Cup this season or subsequent, which looks as if a really actual chance.
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