Yzerman: low profile, flashy results
WASHINGTON — He likely won’t win, but it’s no surprise that the Lightning’s Steve Yzerman was named a finalist for the NHL’s general manager of the year.
The award probably will go to George McPhee, who has orchestrated the expansion Golden Knights to within two victories of the Stanley Cup final. The Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff is the other finalist. All three GMs have their teams in a conference final.
Yzerman has kept a low profile through the playoffs, rarely speaking to the media beyond the pleasantries of “good morning” and “good night.” Keeping a low profile has been his style since joining the Lightning in 2010, and you can’t argue with the results.
In his eight seasons as GM, Yzerman has led the Lightning to the playoffs five times. The Lightning has reached the conference final four times. And since the GM of the year award came into being in 2010, Yzerman has been a finalist three times, winning in 2015.
And look at some of the shrewd moves he has made with this season’s roster:
He, with the help of sensational head scout Al Murray, drafted Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Andrei Vasilevskiy, with only Vasilevskiy being a first-rounder. He signed undrafted free agents Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde. He has signed veterans such as Anton Stralman, Chris Kunitz and Dan Girardi.
He made blockbuster trades for Mikhail Sergachev, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. He traded goalie Ben Bishop to make room for Vasilevskiy. And he hired coach Jon Cooper. One more thing: He has stockpiled all kinds of solid prospects in the minors.
It’s no surprise Yzerman is considered one of the best GMs in hockey.