Lou Lamoriello is vying to make a little history this year.
The New York Islanders president and general manager could become the first two-time winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. Lamoriello was named a finalist for the award for the second consecutive year, along with Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers.
Lamoriello is the first general manager to earn back-to-back nominations since Anaheim’s Bob Murray did so from 2012-13 through 2014-15.
“Being nominated as a finalist again, It doesn’t surprise me since I work with Lou,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s so detail-oriented, so connected between the process of coaching to management. Lou has coached in the National Hockey League and in college, so he understands what we go through emotionally and how teams are. He obviously understands that in terms of building and creating personnel decisions for coaches.
“Then the connection to the other part of the game. The fan part, the marketing part. Dealing with that part of the game, the business part. … 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.”
Lou Lamoriello has changed the culture of the Islanders since he arrived on Long Island in 2018. He added Trotz just off of winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals and has seen steady improvement from the team since.
Lamoriello took home GM of the Year honors last year after helping to build an Islanders team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1993. This year’s run back there is the first time that New York has done so since the 1980s.
In his three seasons with New York, Lamoriello is 115-67-24 and the Islanders have qualified for the playoffs in all three years he has been with the team. Lamoriello’s 41 playoff series wins are the second most for a general manager in the NHL, only behind Glen Sather, and he has won three championships over the course of his career during his time in New Jersey.
“When you look at his track record it speaks for itself,” said Travis Zajac, who was drafted by Lou Lamoriello’s New Jersey Devils in 2004. “I think when you look at Lou he’s always one step ahead of everything else that is 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 then the players.”
Lou Lamoriello additions at the trade deadline have proven to be difference-makers in the postseason this year and last. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has become a key cog in both playoff runs and Zajac and Kyle Palmieri, despite early criticism of the trade, have stepped up during the postseason.
Palmieri currently leads the Islanders in goals in the playoffs.
“There’s a reason why we’ve had success under (Lou Lamoriello) and all credit goes to him. You try and learn as much as you can,” Jordan Eberle said.