Chiarelli assembled a roster that skated to its first 100-point campaign since 1986-87, earned a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2005-06 and posted a league-leading 33-point improvement over 2015-16. Chiarelli acquired defensemen Adam Larsson (trade) and Kris Russell (free agent) during the offseason, bolstering a blue line that helped the Oilers cut their goals-against total (excluding shootouts) to 207, their fewest over an 82-game season since 2001-02. The first-time NHL Awards finalist also added veteran forwards Milan Lucic (offseason free agent) and David Desharnais (trade deadline) to complement homegrown stars Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
In his first season at the helm, Dorion oversaw a Senators team that achieved its second-best regular-season record in the past decade, returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a one-year absence and advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2007. Promoted to general manager in April 2016 after serving the club as assistant GM, director of player personnel and chief amateur scout, Dorion's first major moves were behind the bench, hiring head coach Guy Boucher and associate coach Marc Crawford a month into his tenure. He also traded for center Derick Brassard in the offseason and landed forwards Alexandre Burrows, Viktor Stalberg and Tommy Wingels plus goaltender Mike Condon during the campaign.
Poile's work helped the Predators earn a postseason berth for the 10th time in 13 seasons and advance to the conference finals for the first time. Nashville's leading scorer, Viktor Arvidsson, selected 112th overall in 2014, became the latest key player drafted and developed under Poile, joining a list that includes goaltender Pekka Rinne and defensemen Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. Poile also has added several influential players via trade, with defenseman P.K. Subban (June 2016) following forwards Ryan Johansen (January 2016), James Neal (June 2014), Filip Forsberg (April 2013) and Mike Fisher (February 2011). Poile is a finalist for the fourth time (previously 2010 through 2012) and in quest of his first win.
Voting for this award was conducted among the NHL general managers and a panel of league executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the second round of the playoffs. The winner will be announced June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.