The votes on GM of the Year are in and New York Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello made the shortlist for the second year in a row. Can he win the award? I’m not sure.
Along with Lamoriello are Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito. No Joe Sakic who built the very impressive Colorado Avalanche. No Bill Guerin who was able to guide the Minnesota Wild to the playoffs after finishing in the bottom half of the league last season.
You have to consider how this award is voted on. All 31 GMs vote on it as well as a 10-person panel consisting of five NHL executives and five media members. Oh, and the vote takes place after the second round of the playoffs.
New York Islanders Lou Lamoriello could win GM of the Year, again
That last bit is perhaps the most important part. Most NHL awards are voted on during the regular season and not during the playoffs. Because the playoffs aren’t supposed to influence the vote. Which is exactly what happened for at least two of the GM of the Year finalists.
If the vote happens during the regular season neither Lou Lamoriello nor Marc Bergevin get enough votes to be a finalist in my opinion.
Montreal is the lowest seed in the postseason after a poor regular season and if Toronto wins one more game Bergevin is probably fired. From fired to GM of the Year, tells you everything you need to know about how a later vote favored the Montreal GM.
While there was no risk of Lou being fired, his big move at the trade deadline didn’t necessarily work out in the regular season. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac combined for six-point in 30 combined games. Of course, that’s totally changed in the postseason, Palmieri already has seven goals and nine points.
Zito’s Florida squad wasn’t able to make it past the first round, but he was able to turn this team (along with coach Quenneville) into a powerhouse in the NHL.
I’m sure Zito wins the award on that merit alone, but you can’t discount the fact that Lou has taken his team to back-to-back semi-finals and he’s also incredibly well respected (if not feared) in the NHL. He could very well be the first two-time winner of the award.