It's not that Mike Gillis was unhappy about being named the NHL's top general manager at the NHL Awards show. It's just that he'd gladly have traded the trophy he received Wednesday night for the one he and the Vancouver Canucks
team he built didn't get a week earlier.
"It's great, I guess," Gillis said. "It's nice, I appreciate it but I would trade it in anytime for a Stanley Cup."
Gillis' Canucks came up one win short in their bid for the first Stanley Cup in the franchise's 41-year history -- the Canucks lost 4-0 in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins
. But even that disappointment couldn't erase the accomplishments of the greatest season in franchise history.
The Canucks won the Northwest Division for the third time in a row since Gillis took over as GM in 2008.
They also won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's regular-season champion for the first time in franchise history, and they became the first team since the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens
to lead the NHL in both scoring goals and preventing them.
After seeing his team eliminated by Chicago in the second round in 2009 and 2010, Gillis went to work last summer, adding Dan Hamhuis
to bolster the defensive corps and signing valuable depth forwards Manny Malhotra
and Raffi Torres
. Trade deadline acquisitions Maxim Lapierre
and Chris Higgins
also played valuable roles in the Canucks' first trip to the Final since 1994.
He's already looking forward to getting back to the Final next spring -- and coming up with that elusive 16th playoff win.
"We need to keep our players and we need to have some younger players get the opportunity," he said. "I think there are some areas that we're going to try and focus on this summer. We'll change the role of certain players that we need to focus on but get through the next week and get to July 1 and see where we're at.
"I'm happy with this group, I don't think you can argue with the results for the most part, and to try and now address one thing that happened -- I don't think is realistic. I think we need to keep getting better as a group and if we do we will have an opportunity to go far."