NHL GM of the Year Finalists: Maloney, McPhee, Poile

The NHL has unleashed a new award upon us this year, with the NHL’s 30 general managers and a panel of executives and media voting on the NHL’s General Manager of the Year. Here are the 2010 finalists:

Don Maloney, Phoenix Coyotes

George McPhee, Washington Capitals

David Poile, Nashville Predators

You have to think that like Dave Tippett as the coach, the Coyotes’ Dan Maloney is a lock for this award. Not only was his team incredibly competitive after years of mediocrity but he made several big moves at the trade deadline that instantly made the Coyotes a better team. Poile deserves great credit as well, especially considering the budget he’s working with, but Maloney is likely going to be named the winner this year.

The NHL’s press release after the jump.

NEW YORK (May 6, 2010) — Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes,
George McPhee of the Washington Capitals and David Poile of the
Nashville Predators have been voted finalists for the inaugural NHL
General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced

Voting for this new award was conducted among the
30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and
broadcast media. The winner will be announced during the 2010 Stanley
Cup Final.

Following are the finalists, in alphabetical
order, for NHL General Manager of the Year:

Don Maloney, Phoenix

Maloney steered the Coyotes through an uncertain
and turbulent off-season, charting the course for the most successful
regular season in franchise history. His biggest move was hiring head
coach Dave Tippett, who guided the Coyotes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs
for the first time since 2002 by posting a 50-27-5 record for 107 points
and setting franchise records for wins and points in a season. With the
Coyotes already enjoying a breakout season, the acquisitions of
forwards Lee Stempniak and Wojtek Wolski plus defensemen Derek Morris
and Mathieu Schneider at the Mar. 3 trade deadline propelled the club to
even greater heights.

George McPhee, Washington Capitals

McPhee’s Capitals set a club record with 121 points (54-15-13) on
the way to the first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history and their
third consecutive Southeast Division title. The Capitals tallied 313
goals, becoming the NHL’s highest-scoring club since 1995-96. The club’s
biggest free-agent signing last summer, forward Mike Knuble, tallied 29
goals and made a good fit on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and
Nicklas Backstrom. Organizational depth was highlighted by the
contributions made by several players recalled from the Capitals’ AHL
affiliate, the Hershey Bears, who also posted the top record in their
league (60-17-3).

David Poile, Nashville Predators

Under Poile’s leadership the Predators qualified for the Stanley Cup
Playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons with a 47-29-6
record for 100 points. More than half of the regular lineup was drafted
and developed by the organization, including core defensemen Shea Weber,
Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klein. Leading scorer Patric
Hornqvist and starting goaltender Pekka Rinne were selected by Nashville
with the 230th and 258th overall selections in their respective draft
years. Poile entered an elite class on March 21 when the Predators
defeated St. Louis for his 1,000th regular-season win as a GM.

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    Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

    Ryan Kesler
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    For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

    On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

    With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

    “It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

    As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

    It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

    Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

    Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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    Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

    We’ll know in a month.

    Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

    The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

    The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

    If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

    Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

    And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

    While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.