The NHL announced Friday that Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings, Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens and Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks are the three finalists for the 2014 GM of the Year Award.
Murray’s Ducks set franchise records for points (116), wins (54), road wins (25) and finished with the best record in the Western Conference for the first time in team history. Anaheim led the league in goals scored and ranked ninth in goals against average.
One of the keys to the Ducks’ success was their goaltending talent and depth, which is a product of Murray’s drafting in recent seasons. Rookie netminders Frederik Andersen (20-5) and John Gibson (3-0) were both stellar. Three defensemen Murray has drafted over the last four years — Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler — all took tremendous strides in their development during the regular season.
The Kings finished 46-28-8, good for third place in the Pacific Division. Lombardi’s trade-deadline acquisition of veteran winger Marian Gaborik was a major factor in his team making securing a playoff spot from the league’s most competitive division. He also re-signed a number of core players, including captain Dustin Brown, before and during the regular season. Los Angeles is one of six teams with active playoff appearance streaks of five seasons or longer.
Bergevin helped construct a Canadiens team that finished the regular season with a 46-28-8 record. His offseason and in-season additions of Thomas Vanek, Dale Weise, Mike Weaver and Daniel Briere paid dividends. A few of his recent draft picks, including former No. 3 overall pick Alex Galchenyuk, made a positive impact throughout the year.
This is the second time that Murray and Bergevin have been selected as finalists. Lombardi is a finalist for the first time and deserves to win the award.