In advance of tonight's critical game 4 between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, Preds' general manager David Poile has kicked off the award nominations for Nashville by being named a finalist for the NHL's General Manager of the Year award for the second year in a row. Per Greg Wyshynski:
Gillis, Poile, Yzerman your GM of the year finalists, per NHL.
Last season was the award's inaugural year, which saw Poile place second behind Don Maloney of Phoenix, and just ahead of George McPhee in Washington. His competition this year will be Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A quick rundown of GMDP's best accomplishments over the past year:
- Signing free agent center Matthew Lombardi. We obviously don't know yet how this will work out, but since you can't predict injuries, I still see this as an extremely savvy move.
- Getting a dollar for a dime. Poile somehow managed, all in one summer, to turn Dan Hamhuis and Dan Ellis' negotiating rights, Dustin Boyd, Ryan Parent, Jonas Andersson, and Jason Arnott into Sergei Kostitsyn, Shane O`Brien, a 2nd round draft pick, Matt Halischuk, and Matt Lombardi. Not bad.
- Stocking the farm system well enough to call upon a number of Milwaukee Admirals to fulfill critical roles at various points of the season, and have them deliver. On the current playoff roster, Nick Spaling, Blake Geoffrion, Matt Halischuk and Jonathon Blum all started the season in Milwaukee.
- Last, but not least, the acquisition of Mike Fisher, which was a trade for the right now and next season. In the semi-long term, Fisher gives Nashville an excellent center corps under contract next year (Fisher, Lombardi, Legwand, Smithson), and it's pretty easy to see the impact he's having on their postseason play.
In all, another extremely productive year for David Poile, which is something that we perhaps underappreciate considering that it's so run-of-the-mill. Either way, Poile's tenure may perhaps be judged by this upcoming summer, and the re-signing of Shea Weber. For now, though? We've got playoff hockey to be concerned with.
To read the official press release from the NHL, just follow after the jump...
NEW YORK (April 20, 2011) -- Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks, David Poile of the Nashville Predators and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2010-11 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists, in alphabetical order, for NHL General Manager of the Year:
Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks
Gillis built the Canucks into the NHL's top team in the 2010-11 regular season as they captured the Presidents' Trophy with a franchise-record 117 points (54-19-9) and claimed the Northwest Division title for the third time in his three years in Vancouver. He strengthened the Canucks defensively over the off-season by adding blueliners Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis and shutdown center Manny Malhotra. Such was Vancouver's organizational depth that the club allowed the fewest goals in the NHL (185) despite suffering a rash of injuries throughout the season that sidelined each of their top five defensemen. Gillis further bolstered team depth at the trade deadline with the acquisition of forwards Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre.
David Poile, Nashville Predators
Under Poile's direction the Predators (44-27-11) brought the Stanley Cup Playoffs to Music City for the sixth time in the past seven seasons, finishing fifth in the West after the most competitive Conference race in League history. Yet again, more than half of the lineup was drafted and developed by the organization, including the top four scoring defensemen, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Cody Franson and Kevin Klein. Goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback were selected with the 258th and 207th overall selections in their respective draft years. To this nucleus Poile added their leading scorer in 2010-11, Sergei Kostitsyn, in a trade last June and two-way center Mike Fisher two weeks prior to the trade deadline.
Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Yzerman was hired as Lightning general manager last May and presided over a club that made a 23-point improvement over 2009-10, posted the second-best record in franchise history (46-25-11) and earned a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. Among the rookie NHL GM's notable moves were hiring head coach Guy Boucher three weeks into his tenure and adding key veterans to his lineup at different stages. Defenseman Pavel Kubina was signed at the start of the free agency period last July, followed later in the month by forward Simon Gagne; goaltender Dwayne Roloson arrived via trade midway through the season and defenseman Eric Brewer was obtained at the trade deadline.