One day, the NHL may name an award after Lou Lamoriello.
For now, Lamoriello has a chance to win the Jim Gregory Award as the NHL’s top general manager for a second straight season. Lamoriello, the Canadiens’ Marc Bergevin and the Panthers’ Bill Zito were announced as finalists on Thursday.
Lamoriello joined the Islanders in 2018 after previously serving as the Devils’ GM from 1987-2015 and then with the Maple Leafs from 2015-18.
"You look at his track record and it speaks for itself," said Travis Zajac, initially drafted by Lamoriello 20th overall in 2004 and reunited with his old boss when the Islanders acquired him and Kyle Palmieri from the Devils on April 7. "When you look at Lou it seems like he’s always one step ahead of everything else that’s going on. 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."
The NHL first presented the GM of the year award in 2010. It was renamed in 2019 in honor of Gregory, the former Maple Leafs GM and NHL executive. Lamoriello has a chance to become the award’s first two-time winner.
"Being nominated as a finalist again, it doesn’t surprise me," coach Barry Trotz said. "Lou has coached in the NHL and in college. He understands what we go through emotionally and how teams are. Congratulations to him for being nominated and the same with the three nominees. But I understand why he’s nominated. He’s a Hall of Fame general manager."
Barzal fifth-best stickhandler
The NHL Players’ Association released its annual player survey and Mathew Barzal finished fifth as the league’s best stickhandler with 1.47% of the vote. Chicago’s Patrick Kane was the overwhelming winner with 49.48%.
Two-thirds of the players voting were in favor of continuing a series-style schedule but the same majority was against continuing with regional divisions.