Blog Entry

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 2:41 pm
Steve Yzerman, the Hall of Fame player who put together a Tampa Bay Lightning club that returned to the playoffs this season, joined Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks and David Poile of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the General Manager of the Year Award, the league announced Wednesday. 

The league’s 30 general managers along with a panel of executives and media members vote on the award, which will be handed out as part of the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 22. Here’s a rundown of their accomplishments:

Gillis: After the Canucks were bounced out of the playoffs for a second season in a row by Chicago Blackhawks, Gillis added one of the game’s best defensive forwards (center Manny Malhotra) and bulked up the blue line with Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis. The Canucks, in turn, went on to win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, allowing the fewest goals (185) in the league this season. 

Poile: He was a finalist for this award in its inaugural season a year ago and not much has changed. He wins with one of the lowest payrolls in the league. With a team built largely through the draft, the Preds made it back to the postseason for the sixth time over the last seven seasons. The only GM Nashville has ever known also made a shrewd deal to acquire center Mike Fisher, who has three goals and two assists in the playoffs through play Tuesday, before the deadline.

Yzerman: He took over the as GM last may and hired coach Guy Boucher not long afterward. The duo  was able to return the Lightning to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Yzerman signed veteran defenseman Pavel Kubina and then traded for forward Simon Gagne last offseason. To solidify the team’s goaltending situation, he acquired Dwayne Roloson midway through this season and later added defenseman Eric Brewer

Who I’d pick: While these votes were due in before the start of the playoffs, how good does Poile’s Fisher deal look about now? Sure we’re early in the playoffs, but Fisher has been on a tear. But that’s not the only reason you bring a player like Fisher on board. These are the Preds. By necessity they covet early-round picks like the first-rounder they dealt to Ottawa (along with a conditional pick). Poile showed every player in the locker room that the Preds aren’t just around to gain entry in the playoffs; the front office wants to give them what they need to make a run.

-- A.J. Perez
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:28 pm
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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 21, 2011 4:31 pm

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Thank you to Tampa Bay for giving Steve Yzerman the opportunity to learn the job so that he can take the GM job in Detroit when Holland steps down. It will be nice that he has some experience in the role when he returns home.

That definitely could happen but not anytime soon I don't think.    Kenny Holland is still fairly young and will be the Wings gm as long as he wants to be.  I don't agree with everything he's done and still think he's waiting too long to at least start the rebuilding process but that being said he's been the best GM in the NHL for a long time.   The Ilitches love the guy as well......  the GM job in Detroit is a pretty tough job to get right now... only way I see Kenny leaving is if another team offers him a team president job for a lot more money... and even then I doubt he'll go.  A few years back the Leafs asked for permission to interview Holland.  The Wings did the right thing and said yes but Holland didn't want any part of it.   And that was a gm job for the biggest and possibly the most exciting hockey market in the world with the chance to become a God in Toronto if he succeeds... not sure what it would take for Holland to leave.....

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:59 am

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Thank you to Tampa Bay for giving Steve Yzerman the opportunity to learn the job so that he can take the GM job in Detroit when Holland steps down. It will be nice that he has some experience in the role when he returns home.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 21, 2011 9:30 am

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Yzerman hands down in my opinion... and not because I'm a Wings fan either.   Tampa hasn't been relevant like they are now in a long time.   Sure they had that one good season around the lockout somewhere but this team was in shambles when he got there.   Yzerman has 3 or 4 important things to do this summer and if he does the Lightning will be good for years to come.   One, he has to find a way to sign Steven Stamkos which is probably going to be a lot tougher then people think it is.  As well as the team performed this season they still had a lot of empty seats.  20th in percentage of tickets sold and 18th in overall attendance combined aren't terrible numbers but not good enough.  Two, he has to find a way to get rid of that insane and stupid Lecavalier contract.  10 million a year with a crazy cap hit for nothing more then a good player in a hard cap league is devastating.   Three, Roloson is not the long term answer... Tampa needs a younger goalie that's going to be there long term.  And finally number 4 is their defence.   It's not terrible but needs to be shored up....  if Stevey Y does those things Tampa will be a force... but I'm not sure he can get all of that done in 1 or 2 summerez... Tampa fans have to start purchasing tickets more regularly and be patient though because he will get there.  To this day he's still being mentored by Kenny Holland in Detroit.... they still talk weekly and Holland always makes himself available to Yzerman...  Stevey Y gets to learn from a pretty smart guy...

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: April 21, 2011 9:19 am

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Poile, somehow able to replace players from the system with limited resources and still gets his coach and players enough to have a very successful season.   Besides being GM, Poile wears plenty of "hats" within the organization and has to constantly balance and rebalance priorities that have an effect on his job, somehow, he makes it work....again.   I think Poile by a wide margin, and the Fisher trade was a huge risk for a team so dependant on high picks.   His work in underrated more often than not.

Gillis, had an incredible year, I thought he made some very solid moves at the blueline and Malhotra.   Plenty of injury issues to deal with too, outstanding year.   He also managed the team's cap to put them in line to have a very competitve and stable roster the next 2 years moving forward.

Yzerman, as high as his reputation is, I can't call him gm of the year and I think of a few other gms that I would put ahead of him.   Most of the organizational changes in the business offices and hockey operations offices were in place before he got there, even the Boucher hire (because of multiple bidders for the job) can be attributed to the new owner Jeffery Vinik opening the wallet and targeting top candidates for all his hires more than anything.    The extensions, some of the trades and other moves were only possible because the owner was willing to spend on his new asset rather than because of Yzerman.  Vinik is an experienced sport franchise owner, and I think most gms would have been able to increase TBs success comparably given the same increase in resources.   Everybody loves Steve, but it's a little early to call him one of the best gms this year imo.

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: April 20, 2011 7:03 pm

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

"The Captain" - Steve Yzerman. He did in one year what others take a life time to do. And it's only going to get better each year for the Lightning as long as he is there.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: April 20, 2011 6:45 pm

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

Though I hate the Lightning with a passion, Yzerman deserves the award. They were a joke last year and they were the #5 seed in the East in 2010-2011. He restructured the organization, hired a real coach and ran the organization professionally which hadn't been done in years. The others had talent and a modicum of success at the least previously.

Since: Dec 16, 2009
Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:31 pm

GM of the Year: Yzerman, Poile, Gillis finalists

I sound like a homer, because I've spent most of my life watching guy play and idolizing him as a youngster, but I would have to vote for Yzerman. The reason being, they are the most improved. With what seemed to be a surprise choice for a head coach, if you listen to the analysts, to bringing in key veteran pieces throughout the season, the Lightning went from 12th in the East last season, to 5th this season, and for a good chunk of the time they were a division leading team. The Predators are back in the same position they've been in. Fisher has been having a very good 1st round, but there's still games to be played until the series in concluded. Vancouver was a very good team last year. And added pieces to put them over the top. I vote Stevie Y.

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