NHL News & Notes: GM of the Year & More, Blue Jackets/Rangers & More

In today’s News & Notes, the NHL has announced the finalists for General Manager of the Year, John Davidson has resigned from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Juuso Ikonen has been placed on unconditional waivers.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Lindell, Rangers & More

NHL General Manager of the Year Finalists Announced

The NHL has announced their three finalists for the General Manager of the Year Award. All three general managers named brought their respective teams to the Conference Finals stage of the postseason, including Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins, Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes and Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues.

Sweeney would make significant moves to help the Bruins earn their spot in the Stanley Cup Final this season. Included in those transactions are the / who helped spell Tuukka Rask, allowing him to go on this current postseason tear, Joakim Nordstrom, John Moore and Chris Wagner who provided depth. He’d also make a huge difference by trading for Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson who have both made significant impacts this postseason.

Don Sweeney Bruins
Don Sweeney, Boston Bruins, 2018 NHL Draft, Dallas, TX, June 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

For Waddell, the offseason featured some blockbuster decisions, including the decisions to move on from Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm but acquiring Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, a major contributor in Nino Niederreiter and the tandem of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney.

Don Waddell Hurricanes
Don Waddell, Carolina Hurricanes, 2018 NHL Draft, Dallas, TX, June 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Armstrong would acquire Ryan O’Reilly and make a significant coaching change that helped turn things around for the Blues when Mike Yeo was replaced by Craig Berube. Jordan Binnington would also help things significantly for the Blues.

John Davidson Resigns as Blue Jackets President, Joins Rangers

The Blue Jackets will enter what should be an interesting and slippery offseason without their top executive. The team will be without President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson, as he has resigned from his post in Columbus and is has joined the New York Rangers as their President.

Related: Columbus Blue Jackets President John Davidson Resigns

This is a significant move for the Blue Jackets as they went all-in for the 2019 postseason following acquisitions of Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and others. They already had to deal with the expiring contracts of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, too.

Davidson would release a statement on his decision. thanking the fans through the Blue Jackets official website.

It has been my great pleasure and honor to serve as the president of hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets and I offer my sincerest thanks to the ownership group led by John P. McConnell, Mike Priest and all of the great people I have had the pleasure of working with over the past seven years. I also want to thank our fans and the people of this community who have been so kind to my family and me during our time here. Columbus is truly a special place.

I have come to love this organization and the city. There was only one opportunity that I would’ve considered leaving for, and the one before me now is that opportunity as I spent 30 years with the Rangers as a player and broadcaster and have strong ties to that team and the city of New York.

I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done over the past seven years and know that one of the challenges before me now will be competing against this group moving forward. On behalf of my wife, Diana, and our family, I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all of you for allowing us to be Blue Jackets and call Columbus home.

Ikonen Placed on Unconditional Waivers

The Washington Capitals have placed Ikonen on unconditional waivers for purpose of terminating his contract, according to Chris Kuc of The Athletic. This comes with Ikonen still having one year remaining on his entry-level contract that he’d sign with the team in 2018.

Ikonen would score four goals and 14 points in 54 games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL this season and just couldn’t translate his game to the North American style after Ikonen found success playing in Finland and in Sweden.

In 2016-17, Ikonen would score one goal and seven points in 11 games with Bryans IF Gavle before adding seven goals and 12 points in 20 postseason contests. He’d also score 12 goals and 26 points in 49 games the following season as well as three goals and five points in eight playoff games.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ikonen return to the SHL following this termination.