NEW YORK, – Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks, Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and David Poile of the Nashville Predators were nominated Wednesday for the NHL’s general manager of the year.
The three finalists were selected in voting among the league’s 30 GMs as well as a panel of league executives and media. The winner is to be announced June 22 at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
Gillis, who took over from Dave Nonis as Canucks GM in 2008, built a team that led the NHL with a franchise-record 117 points, goals scored (262) and fewest goals against (185).
”It’s recognition for a lot of hard work and a lot of thoughtful effort that has gone into taking this organization to a higher level,” Vancouver assistant GM Laurence Gilman said of Gillis. ”Everything, whether it’s our players, our coaches, our scouting staff, it all flows from his leadership.
“It’s a tremendous accolade for him and our organization.”
Gillis improved Vancouver’s defence last summer by acquiring Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis as well as checking centre Manny Malhotra. He also picked up some speed at the trade deadline in forwards Chris Higgins and Maxime Lapierre.
”It’s well deserved, the way he put this team together, the way he added some depth to make us stronger in case of injuries,” said Canucks forward Alex Burrows. ”Especially the way he was able to work with the cap, he did a really good job all year.
”It shows with our record and by the way we play on the ice.”
Poile, whose Predators have reached the playoffs in six of the last seven years despite losing key players to free agency, has built through the draft. He has selected and helped develop more than half his roster, including star defencemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter and goalie Pekka Rinne.
He also picked up team scoring leader Sergei Kostitsyn and top-line centre Mike Fisher through trades.
As a rookie GM, Yzerman saw the Lightning improve 23 points over last season and make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. His big move was to hire innovative rookie coach Guy Boucher and also acquired veterans Simon Gagne, Pavel Kubina, Dwayne Roloson and Eric Brewer.
The former Detroit scoring star served his apprenticeship with the Red Wings front office after retiring and was GM for Canada’s gold medal team at the 2010 Olympics.
Finalists for other awards will be announced over the next two weeks, including the Lady Byng Trophy on Thursday.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly spelled the name of Vancouver Canucks’ general manager Mike Gillis.