The Top Five Candidates for 2010-2011 NHL GM of the Year
Don Maloney, former NHL player and current GM of the Phoenix Coyotes, helped his team come out of the basement of the standings and into playoffs for the first time since 2002. As a reward, he was given the GM of the Year award for his work on his rebuild.
This year the award could go to the GM that does exactly what Maloney did in bringing a team back to the playoffs or to the GM that has maintained a winning atmosphere for years.
Here are five GMs that may be candidates for the GM of the Year award next year
Greg Sherman (Colorado Avalanche)
Colorado's comeback this season hit everyone like a freight train. No one expected one of the sleeper picks to come from Denver.
Colorado's comeback is the work of Greg Sherman.
Kyle Quincey (re-signed)
Daniel Winnik (re-signed)
Brandon Yip (re-signed)
Brett Clark (Tampa Bay)
Chris Durno (Tampa Bay)
Brian Fahey (Washington)
Tyler Weiman (Vancouver)
Brian Willsie (Washington)
Sherman had a very solid offseason continuing his work from a year ago (Craig Anderson has been absolutely outstanding).
It seems that this year's theme was "out with the old and in with the new" because that is what Sherman did.
Although he did not go into the waters of the free agent market, Sherman did re-sign Quincey, Winnik, and Yip, very talented young players who were core to Colorado's playoff push.
He did let a few fringe NHLers and veterans like Brett Clark go. However, it was their time to leave the system.
All Sherman has to do now is re-sign Mueller who was acquired via trade with the Phoenix Coyotes back in Spring.
Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues)
One of the newest GMs in the NHL, Doug Armstrong made a splash in the offseason by trading for playoff hero Jaroslav Halak.
Brennan Evans (from Anaheim)
Carlo Colaiacovo (re-signed)
Jaroslav Halak (traded from Montreal)
T.J. Hensick (re-signed)
Cam Janssen (re-signed)
Erik Johnson (re-signed)
David Perron (re-signed)
Ryan Reaves (re-signed)
Vladimir Sobotka (from Boston)
Alex Steen (re-signed)
Tyson Strachan (re-signed)
Brad Winchester (re-signed)
Chris Mason (to Atlanta)
Lars Eller (traded to Montreal)
As one can see, the Blues have very few new players, but that does not mean that Armstrong isn't doing his job.
He re-signed a few players that really showed something this season. Colaiacovo has finally come into his own as a solid defenseman. Erik Johnson continues to grow and his potential is still untapped. David Perron remains as one of the top young top-six forwards in the league today. Alex Steen continues to play a great overall game.
Armstrong re-signed all of these players to both team-friendly and player-friendly contracts.
Although the Blues lost a veteran goaltender in Mason and a top prospect in Eller, they have found their goalie of the future in Halak. Armstrong practiced asset management very well this offseason and it wouldn't surprise anyone if he won the GM of the Year award next season.
Peter Chiarelli (Boston Bruins)
Peter Chiarelli had always been a constant target by Boston fans for years. Now he has become somewhat of an idol to them.
Chiarelli did very well this offseason re-signing key players while obtaining impact players through the trading block and free agency.
Johnny Boychuk (re-signed)
Gregory Campbell (traded from Florida)
Nathan Horton (traded from Florida)
Nathan McIver (re-signed)
Adam McQuaid (re-signed)
Daniel Paille (re-signed)
Jeremy Reich (re-signed)
Mark Stuart (re-signed)
Dany Sabourin (to Washington)
Vladimir Sobotka (to St. Louis)
Dennis Wideman (traded to Florida)
As one can see, the +'s outweigh the -'s by far.
Chiarelli resigned the banging Boychuk to a great contract. He received a top-six power forward in Nathan Horton and a grinder in Gregory Campbell for fan whipping boy Wideman and more.
Of course the Bruins also drafted the highly touted Tyler Seguin who may or may not make the jump this season.
If Chiarelli sticks to what he's been doing, the Bruins will win the cup very soon and he might even be GM of the Year next season.
Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Red Wings legend, Hall of Famer, and now GM of the Lightning, Steve Yzerman has made his footprint in NHL history quite a few times.
His latest endeavor as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks like it could make a huge splash in this upcoming NHL season.
The rookie GM has improved his ailing Lightning team drastically in the past few months.
Sean Bergenheim (from NY Islanders)
Brett Clark (from Colorado)
Chris Durno (from Colorado)
Dan Ellis (from Nashville)
Mitch Fritz (re-signed)
Simon Gagne (traded from Philadelphia)
Blair Jones (re-signed)
Pavel Kubina (from Atlanta)
Mike Lundin (re-signed)
Vladimir Mihalik (re-signed)
Marc-Antoine Pouliot (from Edmonton)
Teddy Purcell (re-signed)
Mathieu Roy (from Columbus)
Paul Szczechura (re-signed)
Nate Thompson (re-signed)
Mike Vernace (from Atlanta)
Ryan Craig (to Pittsburgh)
Kurtis Foster (to Edmonton)
Zenon Konopka (to Islanders)
Andrej Meszaros (traded to Philadelphia)
Antero Nittymaki (to San Jose)
Alex Tanguay (to Calgary)
Tampa's biggest losses include Nittymaki, Foster, Meszaros, and Tanguay, but Yzerman filled those holes quickly by obtaining Ellis, Kubina, and Gagne through free agency trading block. And he filled those holes without giving away many assets either.
He fleeced Philadelphia in the Gagne trade and made cheap signings for the short-term so that his core could develop some more.
One of Tampa's biggest problems has always been goaltending ever since the departure of Khabibulin. Yzerman got Dan Ellis for two years on a good contract creating a solid tandem in Ellis and Smith. Although he may not fix Tampa's goaltending woes, Ellis provides the team with a great stopgap until their goaltending prospects develop.
Overall, Yzerman has addressed most of Tampa's problems although the defense still seems a bit suspect.
Rick Dudley (Atlanta Thrashers)
Rick Dudley was put into a mess called the Atlanta Thrashers on April 14, 2010. Since then he has done wonders for the team.
Eric Boulton (re-signed)
Chris Mason (from St. Louis)
Ondrej Pavelec (re-signed)
Jared Ross (from Philadelphia)
Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd, and Brent Sopel (traded from Chicago)
Colby Armstrong (to Toronto)
Johan Hedberg (to New Jersey)
Pavel Kubina (to Tampa Bay)
Dudley re-signed tough guy Boulton and potential goaltending star Pavalec to nice contracts while he let a few veterans go.
Dudley did most of his magic in his trade with Chicago. He exploited Chicago's cap problems to his own benefit. He received Byfuglien, Eager, Ladd, and Sopel for a few picks and some veteran players who weren't doing much on the Atlanta squad.
Dudley has created a solid team out of the ashes and in a blink of an eye. Don't be surprised to hear his name in the polls for GM of the Year next season.