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Daniel Brière Receives 1st Place Vote; Jim Nill Takes Home Honours as GM of the Year

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Just before the start of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers, the NHL announced that Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars was the winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

Nill received 118 points which included 17 first place votes, 8 second place votes, and 9 third place votes. Patrik Allvin of the Vancouver Canucks finished in second place with 66 points that included 6 first place votes and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers finished third with 64 points and 7 first place votes.

5 other general managers received first place votes in Chris Drury of the New York Rangers (6 votes), Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins (3 votes), Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators (1 vote), Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers (1 vote), and Daniel Brière of the Philadelphia Flyers (1 vote). In fact, Brière finished 10th in voting in his first season at the helm.

Nill was the architect of the Stars that finished atop of the Western Conference with a 52-21-9 record (113 points) and were just one point shy of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers for the top spot in the NHL. The Stars had to combat the heavyweights of the West in the Central Division as the Winnipeg Jets finished 4th in the NHL with 110 points and the Colorado Avalanche finished 8th with 107.

Unfortunately, the Stars fell in the Conference Finals for a second straight season after losing to the Oilers in six games just a few weeks ago.

As for Brière, not much was truly expected out of his first year with the Flyers but they made a surprising push to the playoffs that almost came to fruition had they not collapsed in the final few weeks of the regular season. In the midst of a rebuild, the Flyers were 29-19-6 by the midpoint of February, 33-23-8 by the midpoint of March, and even 36-26-9 by the end of the month. They held onto a playoff spot for over four months before finally losing grasp in April.

It was still a successful season altogether for the Flyers, who finished 26th in the NHL the year prior and they saw big improvements from a variety of players like Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett, and Cam York among others.

Many insiders and analysts had the Flyers finishing in the bottom-3 this season, and some even had them falling below the lowly San Jose Sharks or Chicago Blackhawks, but John Tortorella’s system was working to a tee until injuries to the back-end, shaky goaltending, and a suddenly quiet offence capitulated their season.

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