Coyotes Maloney up for NHL’s top GM

Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes, George McPhee of the Washington Capitals and David Poile of the Nashville Predators are the finalists for the inaugural NHL general manager of the year award.

NEW YORK — Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes, George McPhee of the Washington Capitals and David Poile of the Nashville Predators are the finalists for the inaugural NHL general manager of the year award.

The winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup final, the NHL said in a release Thursday.

Maloney steered the Coyotes through an uncertain and turbulent off-season. He also hired Dave Tippett, who guided the team to the most successful regular season in franchise history. The acquisitions of Lee Stempniak, Wojtek Wolski, Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider also helped the club reach the 107-point mark.

McPhee’s Capitals set a club record with 121 points and the first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. The club’s biggest free-agent signing last summer, forward Mike Knuble, had 29 goals and made a good fit on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

The 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).

Poile’s Predators recorded 100 points and qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons. More than half of the regular lineup was drafted and developed by the organization, including core defencemen Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Dan Hamhuis.

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.

Voting was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media.

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