Last season, Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello was named the winner of the Jim Gregory award which is given to the National Hockey League’s General Manager of the Year. This season, Lamoriello has a chance to repeat and become the first ever two-time winner of the award.
You can’t put a price tag on what Lamoriello has meant to the Islanders over the last three seasons.
“It means a lot,” said Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz. “It doesn’t surprise me. He’s so detailed oriented and so connected between the process of coaching to management. Congratulations to him for being nominated and same to (the other two) nominees but I understand why he’s nominated. He’s obviously a Hall of Fame General Manager and a lot of it is because of his detail.”
Lamoriello, Montreal’s Marc Bergevin and Florida’s Bill Zito were named on Thursday as finalists for this year’s award and the winner will be announced on Monday before game five of the Islanders/Lightning Stanley Cup Semifinals series.
Since his arrival on Long Island, Lamoriello has established a winning culture with a franchise that had not experienced too many memorable moments since the dynasty years. Lamoriello has restored professionalism, pride, and winning into a franchise that has become a Stanley Cup contender and ready to move into their new home UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season.
“The respect level that you have for him from his track record and what he’s done in this league,” said Islanders forward Jordan Eberle. “The presence that he has as far as commitment, doing the right thing all of the time. There’s a reason why we’ve had success under him.”
The NHL GM of the Year Award, which was first presented back in 2009-10, was renamed in 2019-20 in honor of Jim Gregory who was General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and an NHL executive for four decades.
Lamoriello has made some important trades over the last two years to have the Islanders ready for the post-season.
Last season, he added forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenseman Andy Greene before the NHL’s trading deadline and this season he pulled off a trade with the New Jersey Devils to acquire forward’s Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. Palmieri is currently tied with Brock Nelson for the team lead with seven goals during the playoffs. Zajac has proved to be a valuable acquisition as he was inserted into the lineup when Oliver Wahlstrom was sidelined with an injury in the opening round against the Penguins.
“You look at his track record and it speaks for itself,” said Zajac who was drafted in the first round back in 2004 when Lamoriello was the General Manager of the Devils.
“When you look at Lou, it always seems like he’s one step ahead of everything else that’s going on. I think he has a lot of belief in how he does things and it trickles down to the staff and the players.
Lamoriello was hired as Islanders President during the 2017-18 season and would later assume the General Manger duties. He hired Trotz as Head Coach that off-season and has assembled a team that has qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs three straight seasons and is currently in the Stanley Cup Semifinals for the second consecutive year. Since Lamoriello was hired, the Islanders have recorded 26 playoff game victories and six playoff series victories.
Lamoriello, currently in his 33rd season as an NHL General Manager, is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders Category in 2009.