New York Islanders: The Easy Case for Lou Lamoriello GM of the Year

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Lou Lamoriello has quickly turned the New York Islanders into a top team in the Metropolitan Division. It took fewer than eight months to bring winning hockey to the Island, he deserves the top spot.

Lou Lamoriello was hired by the New York Islanders in May of 2018. At that point, the Islanders had finished 17 points out of the playoffs and seventh in the Metropolitan Division. It was clear the Islanders were regressing as a franchise.

In steps Lou Lamoriello who gets to works immediately. Two weeks in he relives Garth Snow and Doug Weight of their duties as GM and head coach. He installs himself as GM and is able to bring in Stanley Cup winning head coach Barry Trotz.

At the draft, he takes Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson at eleven and 12. In free agency, he isn’t able to convince John Tavares to stay and picks up Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Robin Lehner. Later he’d bring back Matt Martin via trade.

Eight months later Lou’s team is sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division heading into the All-Star break. And the

PHWA voted him third for GM of the Year

through the mid-way point of the season. He deserves the top spot.

The Team That Lou Built

Lou Lamoriello, in his short time on the Island, built this team specifically this way. He brought in veteran players like Filppula and Komarov to round out his roster to help his team coalesce with the ideology he had for this franchise.

We all took our shots at that strategy in the summer (all of us) and now only Lou Lamoriello is laughing.

This isn’t some fluke situation where all of the planets have aligned perfectly. This wasn’t Lou Lamoriello flubbing his way to a first-place team. He built it this way.

Sure, there’s no way that Lou Lamoriello thought that Robin Lehner would be a 0.931SV% goaltender. But he clearly thought with the right supports and the right system that Lehner could potentially be that 0.920SV% goalie he was for Buffalo just two seasons ago.

But Lou’s most important acquisition wasn’t part of the playing staff. It was behind the bench. Bringing in Barry Trotz was Lou Lamoriello’s major acquisition.

Barry Trotz has been able to take this group and get them to play to their strengths. And the wins are coming. Lou has said it countless times that individual players don’t win you championships. A team wins championships.

The coach, unlike an individual player, crafts a strategy to harness the talents and abilities of the group to have them work as a cohesive unit. A team. In bringing in one of the best coaches the NHL has seen Lou has the building block for his team.

The New York Islanders are winning not because of some accident. They are winning because that’s what they were built to do.

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Lou deserves to be named as one of three General Managers as the GM of the year, and it can easily be argued that he deserves top billing for how quickly and efficiently he’s been able to bring this winning group together.