The nominees for General Manager of the Year were announced yesterday, and to the surprise of no one, Doug Armstrong is among the three nominees. Fans have a complicated history with Armstrong because Armstrong has a complicated past. Dealing off beloved players to send a message? Check. Making the team five percent better by adding Ryan Miller? Check. Dumping some dead weight to bring Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis for a career renaissance? Yup. Having faith in Jordan Binnington? Check.
Somehow getting a team that was in last place in January into the playoffs? Yup. He did that too. His moves during the off-season may not always play out, but Armstrong is being judged on the merits of his most recent off-season, and it’s very difficult to say that it was disappointing.
The other nominees this year are the Carolina Hurricanes’ Don “The Thrashers Aren’t Moving” Waddell and Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins. Waddell helped guide the Hurricanes back to the playoffs (and to the Eastern Conference Finals before being swept by Sweeney’s Bruins last night) for the first time since 2009. Sweeney, well, he was GM of the Bruins.
The winner of the award will be announced at the NHL Awards on Wednesday, June 19th.