LAS VEGAS -- Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins won the General Manager of the Year Award at the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone on Wednesday.
[RELATED: NHL Awards results | Complete NHL Awards coverage]
Sweeney helped build the team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, where it lost in seven games to the St. Louis Blues.
"We went on a very good run. We just fell a little short," Sweeney said. "That's probably been the hardest thing in the last six days is knowing what the players put on the line for the opportunity to win. You're just so proud of them."
After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first season in 2015-16, the Bruins advanced further into the postseason in each of the past three seasons. Boston had 107 points, tied with the Calgary Flames for second-most in the NHL in 2018-19.
"When I was afforded the opportunity to be in the chair, we mapped it out in terms of where we thought we could get an opportunity," Sweeney said. "We felt that this was our time period. We knew we had to recommit to a draft and develop model. We made a very difficult decision in a coaching change. It sort of infused a few of our players. It allowed [coach] Bruce (Cassidy) to implement some of the younger guys that he felt comfortable in giving them some opportunities. But again, it comes back to the leadership group supporting those efforts as well as the organization."
Video: Don Sweeney earns NHL General Manager of the Year
The Bruins acquired forwards Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle prior to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25. The two combined for 27 points (13 goals, 14 points) in the playoffs to help Boston reach the Cup Final.
"I think this is a testament to the hard work of the organization," Sweeney said. "When you get support of the people you work with every day and the players that are so committed, you're just trying to find potentially missing pieces. We've worked hard the last few years to try to kind of hone in on some areas that we felt we could fill some gaps, and I can't say enough about what Charlie and Marcus did for our hockey club, coming in and fitting in seamlessly. Obviously, our leadership group and every one of the players in the locker room welcomed them."
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 in each of the past three seasons, and Boston's 185 wins under Sweeney are fourth in the NHL, after the Washington Capitals (208), Tampa Bay Lightning (204) and Pittsburgh Penguins (189).
The other finalists were Doug Armstrong of the Blues and Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes. Voting was conducted among the 31 NHL general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the regular season.
The Blues (45-28-9) climbed from last in the NHL standings on Jan. 3 to third in the Central Division and won the Stanley Cup.
The Hurricanes (46-29-7) advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, where they were swept by the Bruins, after reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
General Manager of the Year voting
1. Don Sweeney, BOS 80 (8-11-7)
2. Doug Armstrong, STL 63 (8-6-5)
3. Don Waddell, CAR 59 (9-3-5)
4. Doug Wilson, SJS 58 (5-9-6)
5. Lou Lamoriello, NYI 56 (8-4-4)
6. Brad Treliving, CGY 22 (2-3-3)
7. Joe Sakic, COL 14 (1-2-3)
8. Jarmo Kekalainen, CBJ 7 (0-1-4)
9. Jim Nill, DAL 6 (0-1-3)
10. George McPhee, VGK 3 (0-1-0)
11. Marc Bergevin, MTL 1 (0-0-1)