Brian MacLellan, Jim Nill and Jim Rutherford are this year’s finalists for the NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the league announced Wednesday.
This is the first time each GM has been named a finalist for the annual award, which is voted on by league GMs and executives and members of print and broadcast media. The award was first issued in 2009-10. The winner will be announced at the 2016 NHL Awards on June 22.
Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals
As the GM of the Capitals, MacLellan led his club to a franchise-best 56 regular season wins to claim the Presidents’ Trophy by a landslide. The Capitals’ 120 points was just one shy of the team-high 121 (2009-10). MacLellan has been praised this year for his off-season moves, landing Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie to help build the Capitals’ second-ranked offence and defence.
Jim Nill, Dallas Stars
The success of the Stars’ 2015-16 season was a result of many smart roster moves by Nill since arriving in 2013. Off-season acquisitions like Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Antti Niemi helped the high-scoring squad reach 109 points with a Western Conference-best 50-23-9 record. They also won their first playoff series since 2007-08 before being eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of Round 2.
Jim Rutherford, Pittsburgh Penguins
This was a busy regular season for the Penguins’ GM, making a mid-campaign coaching change by promoting Mike Sullivan to help jump-start Pittsburgh to its 48-26-8 record with 104 points. Rutherford’s off-season was just as eventful, adding names like Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, Eric Fehr, Phil Kessel plus mid-season acquisitions Carl Hagelin and Trevor Daley — all moves that have helped the club to its current place in the Eastern Conference Final.