Cheveldayoff, McPhee, Yzerman are 2018 GM of the Year finalists

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The NHL announced on Wednesday that Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets, George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2018 General Manager of the Year award.

The NHL’s 31 GMs and a panel of League executives, print and broadcast media voted on the award following the conclusion of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll find out the winner during the 2018 NHL Awards on June 20 in Las Vegas.

The Case for Kevin Cheveldayoff: A few key signings and one big move at the NHL trade deadline has helped Cheveldayoff’s Jets reach the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. Adding Dmitry Kulikov was a bonus for the blue line in the regular season, but strengthening the core by handing extensions to Connor Hellebuyck, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Ben Chiarot, Brandon Tanev and Andrew Copp aided in this deep playoff run. Boosting their Stanley Cup hopes was the Feb. 26 trade that brought Paul Stastny to Winnipeg for prospect Erik Foley and two conditional draft picks. Since coming over, Stastny has 10 goals and 28 points in 33 regular season and playoff games.

The Case for George McPhee: Using the NHL’s expansion draft rules to his advantage, McPhee made shrewd deals to add draft picks and impact players while creating the franchise’s first-ever roster. Success came right off the bat and the Golden Knights ended the 2017-18 season by becoming the first modern-era expansion team from the four major North American professional sports league to win its division. By advancing to the Western Conference Final, Vegas became the third team in NHL history to win multiple playoff rounds in their first season.

The Case for Steve Yzerman: The Lightning set franchise records for wins (54) and points (113) during a season that saw them claim a third division title. Yzerman strengthed his roster by adding veterans Dan Girardi and Chris Kunitz over the summer, as well as re-signing forward Yanni Gourde, who finished fourth on the team in scoring with 25 goals and 64 points. Also getting extensions were key cogs Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson, who were both on the team in 2015 and 2016, when Tampa last went deep in the playoffs. Like Cheveldayoff, Yzerman was active at the trade deadline and added Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers to add depth to his forward group and defense corps.

2018 NHL Award finalists
Hart Trophy
Ted Lindsay Award
Jack Adams Award

Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award
King Clancy Trophy
Calder Trophy

Bill Masterton Trophy
Lady Byng Trophy
Norris Trophy
Selke Trophy
Vezina Trophy

MORE:
• 
Conference Finals schedule, TV info
• 
NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.