The Tampa Bay Lightning's Julien BriseBois, the New York Islanders' Lou Lamoriello and the Dallas Stars' Jim Nill are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award, the NHL announced Wednesday.
Under BriseBois, the Lightning brought in several veteran players for a shot at post-season redemption after faltering in the first round of the 2019 playoffs (the team did, however, win a record-tying 62 games during that regular season), including free agents Kevin Shattenkirk, Luke Schenn and Pat Maroon. He also re-signed two of the team's stars, Brayden Point and Andrei Vasilevskiy, to multi-year deals and added Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow at the trade deadline.
The Lightning lead the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final 1–0.
This is the first time BriseBois has been a finalist for the award.
New York, though down in the Eastern Conference Final series to Tampa Bay at the moment, has only continued to rise under the guiding hand of Lamoriello. Last season, the team boasted a 23-point improvement, the league's best defensive record and managed a playoff series win under then-new head coach Barry Trotz.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion signed free agents Semyon Varlamov and Derick Brassard last summer, and retained several core forwards including captain Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. At the trade deadline, he added Andy Greene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
The Islanders' trip to the Eastern Conference final this season is their first in 27 years.
Lamoriello is currently in his 32nd season as an NHL general manager, but this is the first time he's been a finalist for the award — it is also the first time a GM for the Islanders has been recognized.
Moving from the East to the West, Nill's Stars find themselves in their own conference final for the first time since 2007–08 (they're tied with the Vegas Golden Knights 1–1). This comes after the team improved its regular-season points percentage for the third-straight year, thanks largely to a series of moves that included signing free agents Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry and Andrej Sekera, along with recent Game 7 hero Joel Kiviranta. Nill also brought back Esa Lindell, Taylor Fedun, Jason Dickinson and Mattias Janmark.
It is also worth noting that two key figures of Dallas' run to the Western Conference Final, 23-year-old Denis Gurianov and 21-year-old Miro Heiskanen, were first-round picks made by Nill in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Now in his seventh season as Dallas' general manager, Nill finds himself a Jim Gregory finalist for the second time — he finished third in balloting in 2015–16.
The voting process to arrive at the finalists contained input from the NHL's general managers as well as a panel of league executives, print and broadcast media. The eventual winner will be declared on Saturday, Sept. 12 just prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference final.