The Bruins’ Don Sweeney finally has some hardware to his name, as the Black and Gold’s general manager took home the 2018-19 NHL GM of the Year honors at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
Becoming the first Bruins general manager to win the award since the NHL introduced the honor, Sweeney’s win came largely as a result of in-season trades for Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson.
In need of a third-line center, Sweeney made the move for Coyle on Feb. 20, acquiring the Weymouth, Mass. native from the Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth-round draft pick (the pick was converted to a fourth-round selection when Coyle and the Bruins advanced beyond the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs). An undeniable stabilizer on Boston’s third line, Coyle would go on to score just two goals and six points in 21 regular-season contests in Boston, but broke through in a big way with a nine-goal, 16-point playoff run for the B’s, which included some big goals from No. 13.
Johansson, meanwhile, came to Boston from the Devils in exchange for a second- and fourth-round draft pick.
Originally acquired to be the solution to the revolving door to the right of Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, Johansson battled back from an injury that limited him to just one goal and three points in 10 regular-season contests with the Bruins, and came through with four goals and 11 points in 21 postseason contests for the Bruins.
Before adding these Cup-worthy pieces, the fourth-year general manager added free agents Jaroslav Halak (22-11-4 with a .922 save percentage) and Chris Wagner (a career-high 12 goals and 19 points), and re-upped role players like Matt Grzelcyk and Sean Kuraly without complicating Boston’s salary cap structure.
Sweeney would be the only Bruin to leave Vegas with an award to their name, though, as Patrice Bergeron finished third in the Selke Trophy voting behind St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and the Golden Knights’ Mark Stone.