There are few people in hockey who garner more respect than Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello. That was proven once again Thursday, as the 78-year-old was named a finalist for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award for the second consecutive year — he won the award following the 2019-20 season.
“It means a lot. It doesn’t surprise me,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said prior to Game 3 on Thursday. “Congratulations to him. I understand why he’s nominated. He’s a Hall Of Fame GM and a lot of it is because of his detail.”
Marc Bergevin (Montreal Canadiens) and Bill Zito (Florida Panthers) are the other nominees — unlike other NHL accolades, voting for this award was conducted after the second round of the playoffs.
Lamoriello is the first GM to earn at least two straight nominations since Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray (2012-13 through 2014-15). But Murray only won the award once. Lamoriello is attempting to become the first two-time victor since the award was created during the 2009-10 season.
“The respect level that you have for him, the presence that he has, that stuff trickles down,” Islanders forward Jordan Eberle said. “Just being a good teammate. There’s a reason why we’ve had success under him.”
The Islanders are in the Stanley Cup semifinals a second consecutive season thanks largely to Lamoriello. He is the one who brought Trotz in fresh off a Stanley Cup victory with the Washington Capitals. He is the one who traded for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Andy Greene, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, four crucial players for the Islanders as they battle the Lightning. He is the one who drafted Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson in 2018, two young players already making an impact.
The NHL is noticing.
“[This nomination] speaks volumes to his personality, to what he brings to an organization,” Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy said. “The respect factor that he deserves and he is given on every team speaks volumes for him and how much respect we all have for him, as well.”
Lamoriello, in his 33rd season as an NHL GM, has seen his Islanders win 26 postseason games since joining the team before the 2018-19 season. The Lightning are the only team with more playoff wins during that time (27).
“You look at his track record and it speaks for itself,” Zajac said. “Credit to him. He’s got a lot of belief with how he does things.”