Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes are the finalists for the NHL General Manager of the Year Award.
The award is presented annually "to the general manager who best excelled at his role during the regular season." It's voted on by the League's 31 GMs and a panel of NHL executives and print and broadcast media after the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The winner will be announced at the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone at Mandalay Bay Events Center sports and entertainment complex in Las Vegas on June 19.
Armstrong has the Blues in the Western Conference Final for the second time in his nine seasons as GM. This season they started 7-9-3 and Armstrong promoted Craig Berube to replace Mike Yeo as coach. The Blues slipped to last in the NHL standings on Jan. 3, but Armstrong kept the roster intact and St. Louis went 30-10-5 the rest of the season to finish third in the Central Division.
The Blues have reached the playoffs seven times under Armstrong, and their 403 wins since he took over in 2010-11 are tied with the Boston Bruins for the third-most in the NHL in that span, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (419) and Washington Capitals (408).
The Bruins are in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in Sweeney's four seasons. After missing the playoffs in 2015-16, his first season, the Bruins have gone deeper into the postseason each season. Boston had 107 points, tied with the Calgary Flames for second-most in the NHL.
The Bruins acquired forwards Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle in trades prior to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25. Coyle is tied for first on the team in the playoffs with six goals and tied for third with 12 points in 16 games; Johansson has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 14 games, including the game-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round.
Sweeney, who played 15 of his 16 NHL seasons with the Bruins, spent nine seasons working in the front office before being promoted to GM on May 20, 2015. The Bruins are one of five Eastern Conference teams to reach the playoffs the past three seasons, and Boston's 185 wins under Sweeney are fourth in the NHL, after the Capitals (208), Tampa Bay Lightning (204) and Penguins (189).
Waddell, in his first season as GM, has the Hurricanes in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. He added the GM title to his role as president on May 8, 2018, and one of his first moves was to promote assistant Rod Brind'Amour to coach.
He oversaw one of the busier offseasons, with Carolina adding defenseman Dougie Hamilton, forwards Micheal Ferland, Jordan Martinook and rookie Andrei Svechnikov, and goalies Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney. On Jan. 17, the Hurricanes acquired forward Nino Niederreiter in a trade with the Minnesota Wild, and he scored the game-winning goal against the New York Islanders in Game 2 of the second round.
Waddell was GM of the Atlanta Thrashers from 1998-2010, and after three seasons as a scout for the Penguins, was hired as president of the Hurricanes on July 1, 2014.