by PuckStopsHere on 05/07/10 at 11:53 AM ET
The NHL has another award which it has no clue how to decide its winner with the GM of the Year award. The problem is that it is usually necessary to determine how well a GM is doing by looking at his record over many years. When you give the GM of the Year award, you wind up giving it to the GM of the most improved team, which is much like the way the coach of the year is often determined.
The inaugural nominees are Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes, George McPhee of the Washington Capitals and David Poile of the Nashville Predators. It is widely believed that Maloney will win the award, just like Dave Tippett will win coach of the year. Both will win the awards because Phoenix was the most improved team. I do not believe the idea that Phoenix’s improvement is due to having both the best coach and the best GM in the league. It is just a simple way to give out an award to somebody who is in the right place at the right time.
The other nominees for coach of the year, after Dave Tippett are Barry Trotz of Nashville and Joe Sacco of Colorado. Like Trotz, Poile gets nominated because Nashville did better than expectation. Nominating Colorado GM Greg Sherman (as Colorado was highly improved as well) was not so popular because Sherman is arguably the least proven GM in the NHL. Thus first place GM, George McPhee of Washington got the third nomination. We have two of three nominations for coach of the year and GM of the year going to the same teams for the same reasons. Those reasons are not a meaningful way to pick a GM of the year.
If I had to pick the GM who did the most to help his team this year, I think I would pick Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. His trade of Phil Kessel to Toronto for two first round draft picks and a second round pick will likely be a major windfall for the Bruins as the 2010 first round pick will be second overall and will bring in Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin and either could be a franchise player. Chiarelli looks brilliant because Toronto had a very bad season - which was worse than predictions and because Toronto did not fall in the draft lottery. There is a lot of luck involved in the trade working out so well for Boston.
If there is a GM of the year award that goes to the GM of the most improved team, will top GMs like Ken Holland in Detroit, Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey or Doug Wilson in San Jose ever get nominated? Their teams are good enough that it is hard to imagine any to be the most improved team in the league. The coach of the year award is known for ignoring top coaches to pick the coach of the most improved team and it looks like the GM of the year is the same.
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