The voting for the NHL’s General Manager of the Year has been completed and the nominees were released today. The finalists for the award were Montreal’s Marc Bergevin, Anaheim’s Bob Murray and Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero.
No mention of Ottawa’s Bryan Murray. So was it a snub or did at least 3 other GM’s truly have a better year?
Since they started handing this award out last season, I have been of the opinion that the GM of the year is something that is earned 2 or 3 years before they would actually win the award. It takes time to build a franchise, and it is not usually something that can be fixed in a year or two. If you take a look at what happened this season:
1. Bob Murray did make adjustments in bringing in Sheldon Souray, Brian Allen, Ben Lovejoy and Victor Fasth. He also kept Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the fold by throwing big-money contracts at them. The Ducks rebounded from missing the playoffs last year to winning the Pacific Division and the 2nd seed in the West.
2. Ray Shero has two of the best players on the planet, but his best sell-job might have been to convince Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow to eschew Boston to instead accept respective trades to Pittsburgh. Shero used prospects and picks to pry the captains from their former teams. The Penguins finished first in the East
3. Marc Bergevin brought Michel Therrien back as head coach, drafted Alex Galchenyuk third overall, added Brandon Prust and held firm on the contract for P.K. Subban. The Habs moved from 15th in the East to 2nd.
All were pretty impressive, but the job Bryan Murray did over the past 2 or 3 seasons to build a franchise that was able to withstand injuries to 4 of its 5 most important players for long stretches of the season. He made the team deep enough to just replace missing parts with players brought up from the minors. Also, he did it in such a way as to make the Senators one of the best bargains in the league, dollar for dollar.
Check the 2013-14 salary commitments, from capgeek.com
Pittsburgh: $56M committed to 18 players
Montreal: $66M committed to 24 players
Anaheim: $63M committed to 24 players
Ottawa: $43M committed to 19 players
I guess what Bryan Murray needed to do to make a splash and get consideration for the NHL GM of the Year was to throw Eugene Melnyk’s money around on UFA’s to replace those injured players and overpay struggling star players to stay in the city or have the two best players in the league talk to other stars to get them to come to town. Only St. Louis and the New York Islanders had a lower payroll and managed to make the playoffs this season, and that is not taking into account that nearly half of the Ottawa payroll was on the IR at any given time. Ten teams with higher payrolls than that of the Senators failed to make the post-season.
Bryan Murray has done things the right way in Ottawa, and although every move he made this season was not perfect (Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin), I wouldn’t want anyone else at the helm of the Senators right now. He would definitely be in my top 3 if I had a vote.