Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders was named the winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award for the second straight season on Tuesday.
Presented annually to the general manager who best excelled at his role during the regular season, the award is voted on by NHL GMs and a panel of NHL executives and print and broadcast media after the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lamoriello is the first person to win it twice; he also won last season when New York reached the third round for the first time since 1993. The Islanders have not missed the playoffs during Lamoriello’s three seasons as GM.
“Winning an award such as this is very humbling,” Lamoriello said. “It’s very difficult because it shouldn’t be one person being recognized. It’s an award that really embraces what the organization has accomplished throughout the year.
“I accept humbly on behalf of our owner, Scott Malkin, and his partners, who have given us over the past three years, every tool necessary to have success; our coaching staff, led by Barry Trotz; our players, led by our captain, Anders Lee; our entire hockey operations, led by Chris Lamoriello and Steve Pellegrini, my very capable assistants; and who really is the backbone of all of us, Joanne Holewa (manager, hockey operations).”
The Islanders finished fourth (32-17-7) in the eight-team MassMutual East Division. The top four teams qualified for the postseason.
New York trails the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Semifinals. Game 6 will be played at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday.
During the offseason, the Islanders re-signed defenseman Andy Greene, which allowed them to bring back every key skater from the team that lost to the Lightning in the 2020 Eastern Conference Final and added rookie Ilya Sorokin as the backup goalie to Semyon Varlamov. After Lee, who played on the top forward line, sustained a season-ending knee injury March 11, New York acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on April 7. Palmieri is tied with center Brock Nelson for the Islanders lead with seven goals this postseason.
“I think you look at his track record, it speaks for itself,” Zajac said. “I think when you look at Lou, he’s always one step ahead of everything else that’s going on, so credit to him. I think he’s got a lot of belief in how he does things and it trickles down to the staff and to the players.”
In 34 seasons as a GM with the Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Devils, Lamoriello has won the Stanley Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003), and his teams have reached the playoffs 26 times. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category in 2009.
He won the Lester Patrick Award for contributions to hockey in the United States in 1992. He was GM for the United States team that won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first that featured NHL players. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
“I think it just speaks volumes to his personality, to what he brings to an organization, a team,” Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy said. “I think the respect factor that he deserves, and he’s given on any team, I think it just speaks volumes for him and how much respect we have for him as well.”
Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers were also finalists for the award.
The NHL General Manager of the year Award, which was first presented in 2009-10, was renamed in 2019-20 in honor of Jim Gregory, the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who was Maple Leafs GM and an NHL executive for four decades. Gregory died Oct. 30, 2019.
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report