The Penguins' Ray Shero pulled the trigger when he felt he needed to trade core player Jordan Staal last year, and again when he made four big acquisitions near the NHL trade deadline this season.
It was different last summer. When the heat was on Paul Martin coming off of a subpar year, Shero stuck with the veteran defenseman.
"There's a time and a place for each -- patience and action -- and, as a general manager, you just want to, hopefully, find the balance between the two," Shero said Friday night after being named the winner of the NHL General Manager of the Year Award.
Shero has learned to have faith in his decisions.
"I think maybe [through] experience or instinct, it comes to you that this is what you should do," he said. "It goes back to that confidence in what you're doing. That confidence doesn't mean you're right in anything you do. You have to be decisive.
"But that's what the information you have at the time is [for]. You hope that works. In this business, as a general manager, you need to be right more than you're wrong -- because you're going to be wrong sometimes making those decisions."
Shero was the architect of a Penguins team that this season claimed the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 72 points in 48 games. This is his first GM award.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby was a finalist for the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. The award went to Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding, who is battling multiple sclerosis.
Shero, 50, was hired as Penguins general manager in May 2006. Since then, the Penguins have been to the Eastern Conference final three times -- including this year, when they were swept by Boston -- and the Stanley Cup final twice, winning the championship in 2009.
He is known for making shrewd trades and for keeping a competitive team together -- one built around superstar centers Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- in a league with a salary cap.
Between the end of the 2011-12 season the end of this regular season, Shero made several eye-catching moves.
He acquired and signed goaltender Tomas Vokoun to serve as a strong backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. He traded away Staal, his first Penguins draft pick.
And late in the season, he made trades to acquire future Hall of Fame winger Jarome Iginla, feisty veteran winger Brenden Morrow, versatile forward Jussi Jokinen and hulking defenseman Douglas Murray, without giving up anyone on his NHL roster.
"The trades made at the deadline this year, the people we brought in and the character we brought in, those were all very important," Shero said.
"It didn't get us to where we hoped to be, and that's still playing right now and competing for a Stanley Cup. But to bring in the guys like Murray and Morrow and Jokinen and Iginla and some of the experience that they brought and imparted on our group and our kids and our coaches and myself is, I think, very important moving forward for this team and the players."
Shero said his confidence also comes from the support he gets from above -- owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle and CEO David Morehouse -- and the cooperation he gets from coach Dan Bylsma and the players.
"It's a group award, and one guy gets recognized," Shero said. "I'm very much cognizant of the help you need in order to do something like this, and it's very much appreciated."
The award got Shero thinking about his father, Fred, who won two Stanley Cups as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s.
"My father won the first ever Jack Adams [Award] in 1974 as the NHL coach of the year," he said. "His name will be on that forever. That NHL GM of the Year Award, that's kind of cool to be recognized like that.
"My father most importantly has his name on the Stanley Cup a couple of times. I'm on there once.
"It's a great recognition and I don't take it lightly."
The other finalists for the award were Marc Bergevin of Montreal and Bob Murray of Anaheim.
The other awards that were announced:
• Chicago captain Jonathan Toews won the Selke Award as the top defensive forward.
• Paul MacLean of Ottawa won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.
• The Lady Byng Award for sportsmanship went to Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay.
• Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg won the NHL Foundation Player Award for community and charitable work.
• The King Clancy Award for leadership and humanitarian service was won by Patrice Bergeron of Boston.
• Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson won the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
The balance of the awards will be presented tonight.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published June 15, 2013 4:00 AM