What the Puck: Canadiens' Marc Bergevin doesn't deserve to win GM award
Let us now praise Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin. But let’s also not give him the GM of the year award. The most important thing to realize with the National Hockey League’s Jim Gregory Award for general manager of the year is that fellow GMs and a panel of league executives and media types voted for the three nominees after the conclusion of the second round of the playoffs. The three finalists are Bergevin, New York Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello and the Florida Panthers’ Bill Zito.
© Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated
Montreal's Marc Bergevin, New York's Lou Lamoriello, and Florida's Bill Zito have been nominated for the 2021 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.
View the original article to see embedded media.
The final class of NHL Awards finalists has officially been released.
The NHL announced on Thursday morning that Montreal's Marc Bergevin, New York's Lou Lamoriello, and Florida's Bill Zito have been nominated for the 2021 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. The award, which was established in 2009 and re-named to honour Gregory in 2019-20, is voted on by a panel of league executives and media members, with the winner expected to be named on June 21st prior to puck drop for Game Five between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders.
Montreal Canadiens' Marc Bergevin nominated for NHL's GM of the Year Award
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is one of the three finalists for the National Hockey League’s General Manager of the Year Award. The two other nominees announced Thursday are Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 21, at the 2021 NHL Awards. Bergevin’s nomination comes in his 9th season with the Canadiens, during an unexpected run in this season’s NHL playoffs. The recent success is due, in large part, to several signings Bergevin made this past off-season, including Tyler Toffoli , the team leader in goals (28) and points (44).
Bergevin has been nominated for GM of the Year honours twice in years past, albeit having never actually emerged victorious.
If voting for the award had taken place following the conclusion of the regular season, frankly, Bergevin may not have even finished in the top-half of potential candidates, as his Canadiens finished the 2021 campaign a disappointing fourth in the North Division standings with 59 points and a dismal .491 points percentage.
Then, the playoffs began. And thus ignited an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals that no one, perhaps even Bergevin himself, saw coming. Since going down three games to one to the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 25th, the Canadiens proceeded to win seven consecutive games en route to back-to-back series victories versus the Leafs and Winnipeg Jets while not surrendering a lead in six straight contests.
NHL awards tracker 2021: Full list of finalists, winners for Hart, Vezina, Norris and more
Sporting News lists all the NHL awards from the 2021 season as they were handed out.The NHL started handing out its 2021 awards on June 14, although we knew a few winners beforehand.
At the time of publication, Bergevin's Canadiens sit three wins away from a birth in the Stanley Cup Final.
Like Bergevin, Lamoriello is a mere three wins away from watching his team earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. This is the second consecutive year that Lamoriello, who won the GM of the Year Award last season, finds himself in this position, having taken the Islanders to the NHL's Final Four in 2019-20 before ultimately losing in six games to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lamoriello's bold move at the trade deadline to acquire both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils, the team he previously spent three decades with, is paying dividends at the moment, precisely when it needed to the most. Each player has filled a vital role for the exquisitely structured Islanders during their playoff run thus far, even helping to fill the void up front left by injured captain Anders Lee.
Stu Cowan: Canadiens' Carey Price paying back the GM who banked on him
It was a picture worth 84 million words. After the Canadiens eliminated the Vegas Golden Knights with a 3-2 OT victory last Thursday in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series at the Bell Centre, GM Marc Bergevin — wearing his lucky red suit — gave Carey Price a long hug, whispered something in his ear and then kissed the top of his head. The goalie Bergevin banked on big time four years ago with an eight-year, US$84-million contract extension had led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1993 when they won their last championship. Price has a 12-5 record during these playoffs , with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.
The Hockey Hall of Famer is the first general manager to earn back-to-back nominations since Anaheim's Bob Murray did so for three consecutive seasons between 2012-13 to 2014-15.
And then there's Zito, the freshman of the class who receives his first nomination in his rookie season as an NHL general manager.
The 56-year-old oversaw a strong turnaround in his debut campaign with the Panthers, setting a franchise records in regular-season points percentage en route to a second-place finish in the Central Division standings. Aiding that success was a number of Zito acquisitions from that offseason such as Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, Alex Wennberg, and Patric Hornqvist. If that weren't enough, Zito also shored up the Panthers' offensive depth by acquiring Sam Bennett at the trade deadline before immediately watching as the former top-five pick racked up 15 points in 10 games to close out the season.
Once adrift in the NHL's middle class, the Panthers are a team on the rise under Zito's stewardship. And he may just take home the hardware to prove it.
Stu Cowan: Former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is happy in Vegas .
Life has been very good for Max Pacioretty since the Canadiens traded him to the Vegas Golden Knights three years ago. After the trade, Pacioretty signed a four-year, US$28-million contract extension with the Golden Knights that runs through the 2022-23 season. During his first season in Vegas, Pacioretty was limited to 66 games because of injuries but still managed to score 22 goals and then added five more goals (along with six assists) in seven playoff games as the Golden Knights were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the first round. Last season, Pacioretty scored 32 goals in 71 games, hitting the 30-goal mark for the sixth time in his NHL career.