Despite the Phoenix Coyotes' storybook season not having the fairy-tale ending many had hoped for, the man who helped turn the franchise from Canadian-bound disgrace to a playoff contender has been rewarded.
Don Maloney, the Howlers' general manager, was named the NHL General Manager of the Year this morning in Philadelphia.
Maloney, who has been through hell and back with all of the drama that has occurred off the ice over the past few seasons, is definitely well-deserving of this award.
The number of influential moves Maloney made this season all seemed to work out in his favor. Frankly, it seemed the man just had a magic touch.
The biggest move Maloney made may have come at the trade deadline, when he swung a deal to acquire a slew of talented players who helped the Coyotes in a run at Lord Stanley's cup.
Left winger Wojtek Wolski (a needed scoring threat), right winger Lee Stempniak (a wizard on the power play), and defenseman Mathieu Schneider (a stable presence on the blue line) all played key roles in the Coyotes success this season.
All were acquired by Maloney at the trade deadline and the results were immediate as the Yotes reeled off nine straight wins after the trade.
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After Wayne Gretzky resigned as coach shortly before the season began, the Coyotes were in a limbo. The hiring of head coach Dave Tippett, now a finalist for the NHL Coach of the Year Award, was also a brilliant move
Now that Maloney's received a little love from the GM's who voted to give him this distinction, his work also deserves to be recognized here in the Valley.
The Coyotes gained more than a few fans along the way of the incredible season but in order for this team to be a yearly powerhouse in the Western Conference -- and to stay in Arizona -- fans need to show up .
Phoenix has the mix of young players, grizzled veterans, a masterful coach and now a top-flight GM. The tools are in place for success for years to come. The jury is still out, however, on whether the fans are in place to support a team in the desert.