Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders won the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award on Saturday.
The award is presented annually to the general manager who best excelled at his role during the regular season. It is voted on by the League's general managers and a panel of NHL executives and print and broadcast media after the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"First of all, it's very humbling coming from your peers, but really any time you have an award in a team atmosphere, it's really shared with everyone and it is a part of everyone because it would not happen unless you had the people around you," Lamoriello said. "And I've been very fortunate to be surrounded by not only talented people, but great people and that's what's rewarding when something like this comes about, that you know the type of individuals that you've been surrounded with and they allow these type of things to happen."
Lamoriello guided the Islanders to the Eastern Conference Final this season and at least the second round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons after they had advanced there once since 1993. He joined the Islanders as president of hockey operations on May 22, 2018, and became the GM on June 5. Two weeks later, on June 21, Barry Trotz was hired as coach. Trotz, who had won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals the previous season, won the Jack Adams Award as the top coach in the NHL last season after New York had a 23-point improvement from 2017-18.
"I think that Barry's past and present is something which has been extremely consistent in his career," Lamoriello said. "He's very levelheaded, very patient and also has a demeanor about him that never gets too high, never gets too low, and that's transmitted throughout our team. Very honest, very direct and it's really been a pleasure and an honor for me to work with him over the last couple of years."
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This offseason, the Islanders signed free agents goalie Semyon Varlamov and forward Derick Brassard, and re-signed forwards Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. They also acquired defenseman Andy Greene and forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau prior to the trade deadline. The Islanders signed Pageau to a six-year contract Feb. 24, the day the trade was announced. He could have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
"I think they've done everything that we've hoped them to do and probably more," Lamoriello said of Greene and Pageau. "They're certainly both quality individuals. One, in Andy Greene, I've known for a long time since my days in New Jersey. We signed him out of college as a free agent. And certainly [Pageau], we've watched him play, we've played against him, and he brings the certain character within the game that really is something I totally believe in. His position certainly fit a need. Both of them just came into the organization like they've been here before. Their acceptance has just been so smooth that I really have a difficult time putting it into words. It's probably the smoothest transactions that I've ever had bringing two players in at that time of the year."
A three-time Stanley Cup champion with New Jersey Devils (1995, 2000, 2003) and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee in the Builders Category in 2009, Lamoriello is in his 33rd season as an NHL GM. He is the first Islanders GM to win the award.
Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars were the other finalists for award, which was first presented in 2009-10.
The NHL GM of the Year Award was renamed in 2019-20 in honor of Jim Gregory, the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who served as Toronto Maple Leafs GM and a League executive for four decades before his death Oct. 30, 2019.
The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.
2020 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award voting
1. Lou Lamoriello, NYI 86 (11-9-4)
2. Julien BriseBois, TBL 71 (8-8-7)
3. Jim Nill, DAL 61 (8-6-3)
4. Joe Sakic, COL 60 (5-10-5)
5. Kelly McCrimmon, VGK 36 (4-3-7)
6. Jim Benning, VAN 29 (3-3-5)
7. Chuck Fletcher, PHI 12 (1-1-4)
8. Jeff Gorton, NYR 2 (0-0-2)
9. Kevin Cheveldayoff, WPG 1 (0-0-1)
Don Sweeney, BOS 1 (0-0-1)
Don Waddell, CAR 1 (0-0-1)
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report