Three very worthy candidates are up for this year’s GM of the year: the Blues’ Doug Armstrong, Florida’s Dale Tallon, and Nashville’s David Poile. Poile is responsible for consistently “doing something with nothing” in Nashville according to a good many hockey pundits, even though it doesn’t take much to notice that the Preds haven’t had nothing for a while. They got out of the second round of the playoffs last year, went on and added Hall Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn — not to mention he brought Alex Radulov back from the KHL to add playoff scoring punch.
Dale Tallon rebuilt the Florida Panthers in the image of the Chicago Blackhawks, circa 2009. It was effective in Chicago, so no shock that it’s been successful for the gang in South Beach. Watching the Panthers win the Southeast Division was a treat this year, but how much of what Tallon did was effort, and how much of it was a repeat of what he did in Chicago? Frankly, ask a Panthers fan how much they care right now.
Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong’s work has taken him longer than an off-season. His tenure with the Blues began in 2008 as director of player personnel, and he assumed GM duties when Larry Pleau retired. Armstrong is responsible for the Jaroslav Halak for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz trade that flabbergasted everyone in 2010. He also found diamond in the rough goalie Brian Elliott, cementing the Blues’ Jennings Trophy winning pair. His patience with the youth of the team, coupled with the addition of Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner for grit and experience, helped turn the Blues into the patient and smart team that’s heading into the second round of the playoffs.
Add in his hiring of Ken Hitchcock, and you have a legitimate contender of a team. Doug Armstrong’s flown under the radar as a solid GM for long enough; this year is his time to shine.