Doug Armstrong, who won the NHL's General Manager of the year, is in an enviable position. He's the GM of a team whose fans and owners expect results, but who aren't unrealistic about it. He's the GM of a successful mid-market, Midwestern team who have built from within over years of solid drafting. He's not expected to make huge trades or big-name free agent deals, and he works with what he has -- but does so smartly.
He won the NHL's GM of the Year award for last season thanks to the Blues' Central Division winning performance, stunning nearly everyone with a 109 point season. As a reward for the team's success under his stewardship, the Blues announced today that he has been given a five-year contract extension. Recently departed team president John Davidson gets a lot of credit for the strength of the team, but it wouldn't be possible without Armstrong.
He's brought in Ken Hitchcock, a coach he's familiar with from his tenure as GM of the Dallas Stars. He's contributed to smart drafting decisions as member of the Blues' front office, and he organized trades that brought Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, and Kevin Shattenkirk to St. Louis. He has a nose for free-agents, recognizing the value in signing Brian Elliott and Jamie Langenbrunner. He also isn't going anywhere for a long time -- he's under contract until 2018.
The Blues retaining the services of their GM when he had the opportunity to go to a big market team is a testament to the value of what he's constructed here, as well as to the value of the team itself. Why go somewhere that the team and fans are clamoring for huge signings and constant "improvements," when you're trusted to make the right decision where you are now?