George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights won the General Manager of the Year award at the 2018 NHL Awards Presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Wednesday.
McPhee, 59, helped build the Golden Knights largely through the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, less than three months before the opening of training camp. They finished 51-24-7 with 109 points, setting records for wins and points by a first-year NHL team and winning the Pacific Division.
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"On a personal level, lots to be thankful for," McPhee said. "I got to be a [general] manager again, something I've wanted to do again. Having an opportunity to do this, I can't believe how well it went for this franchise. I feel we have lots to be thankful for and it's been a great experience for all of us. We were all going for the Stanley Cup, but when you win an award like this along the way, it means a lot."
Vegas added to its list of accomplishments in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, becoming the third team in NHL history to win multiple series in its inaugural season. The Golden Knights advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, which they lost to the Washington Capitals in five games.
"What they did in the aftermath of Oct. 1 (the Las Vegas mass shooting) in what they did in so many ways in this community, it made a big difference in this community in trying to help it heal and persevere," McPhee said. "We were very fortunate to have these young men. We're all trying to win championships, but we know it's more important than that."
Eleven Golden Knights had NHL career highs in points, including their top five scorers: William Karlsson (78), Jonathan Marchessault (75), David Perron (66), Reilly Smith (60) and Erik Haula (55).
Video: George McPhee wins NHL General Manager of the Year
McPhee was a finalist with the Capitals in 2009-10, when they won the Presidents' Trophy.
The other finalists were Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jets (52-20-10, 114 points) put together the best regular season in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history and advanced to the Western Conference Final for the first time. The Lightning set their records for wins (54) and points (113), won their first division title since 2004, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four seasons.
Here is the voting from NHL general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media completed at the conclusion of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
1. George McPhee, VGK 149 (25-7-3)
2. Kevin Cheveldayoff, WPG 107 (8-20-7)
3. Steve Yzerman, TBL 46 (3-8-7)
4. Don Sweeney, BOS 17 (0-3-8)
5. Joe Sakic, COL 10 (-1-0-5)
6. Brian MacLellan, WSH 7 (1-0-2)
7. Ray Shero, NJD 7 (0-1-4)
8. Ron Hextall, PHI 5 (1-0-0)
9. David Poile, NSH 2 (0-0-2)
10. Jarmo Kekalainen, CBJ 1 (0-0-1)