Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NHL Announces General Manager of the Year Award Nominees: Gillis, Yzerman and Poile

Today's announcement from the NHL in the parade of award nominees is for the title of General Manager of the Year. This is a new award that was first presented in it's current form last season. Last year it was selected by 30 general managers, five NHL executives and five media members in its initial incarnation.

This year's nominees are Vancouver's Mike Gillis, Tampa Bay's Steve Yzerman and Nashville's David Poile are the three finalists for the honor of the League's top GM.

With the award still in its infancy, it was a wide open field with the G.M.'s of several teams that exceeded expectations as the front runners.

The Award will be presented for the first time as part of the official NHL Awards Show that will be held at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on June 22. Last season it was presented to Phoenix's Don Maloney at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on June 2, three weeks before the official show.

After the jump, you will find the official release from the NHL...


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 at 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.

Announcement Schedule

The NHL will announce the three finalists for each of its awards daily. The remaining announcement schedule:

Thursday, April 21    Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (skill/sportsmanship)
Friday, April 22    Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
Monday, April 25    James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman)
Tuesday, April 26    Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)
Wednesday, April 27    Frank Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)
Thursday, April 28    Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)
Friday, April 29    Jack Adams Award (top head coach)
Monday, May 2    NHL Foundation Player Award (contributions to charitable causes)

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

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