NHL: Avs’ Joe Sakic wins GM of the Year, and Manon Rheume joins Kings

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Joe Sakic, the architect of the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche’s roster, was awarded the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award on Thursday.

Voting by a 42-member panel that included NHL executives and media members was done after the second round of the playoffs.

Sakic received 16 first-place votes and 109 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Julien BriseBois was the runner-up after landing 12 first-place votes and garnering 87 points. Rounding out the top five were the New York Rangers’ Chris Drury (four first-place votes, 53 points), the Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, (three, 41) and the Florida Panthers’ Bill Zito (two, 33).

“It’s a huge honor,” Sakic said via NHL.com. “You’re being voted on by your peers and it’s a huge honor. I know it’s a team award. We’ve got a great staff. (Assistant GM) Chris MacFarland is huge on it. We do everything together. Our scouts, every one of them, pro, amateur. It’s the team, the players, they were so committed this year, the coaching staff. To me it’s not an individual award, it’s an organizational award.”

Joe Sakic wins GM of the Year

The Avalanche posted the NHL’s second-highest point total in the regular season, 119, behind just the Panthers’ 122. Colorado then sailed through the playoffs, sweeping the Nashville Predators in four games, eliminating the St. Louis Blues in six games, downing the Oilers in four games and topping the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

Before the season, Sakic traded for goalie Darcy Kuemper and signed center Darren Helm. In-season, he added defenseman Josh Manson, left winger Artturi Lehkonen and center Andrew Cogliano. Sakic drafted numerous players on the Colorado roster, including Conn Smythe- and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Cale Makar, during his eight years as GM.

Sakic, 53, was a Hockey Hall of Fame player for the Quebec Nordiques/Avalanche franchise. The GM of the Year honor joins his trophy case that includes the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Conn Smythe Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy, NHL Foundation Player Award and two Stanley Cups as a player.

Manon Rheaume joins Kings organization

The Los Angeles Kings named Manon Rheaume as their hockey operations and prospect advisor on Thursday.

Rheaume will work with executives in multiple areas with the Kings and focus on prospect development.

She became the first female athlete to play in any of the major North American professional sports leagues when she suited up as a goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason contest against the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 23, 1992.

“I’m excited to join the Kings and look forward to working with our young players as they go through their individual development process,” Rheaume said. “There are so many elements that factor into a player’s journey once they join an organization, and my focus will be on helping to provide them with the tools and guidance they need to ease that transition as the strive to reach their ultimate goal of playing in the NHL.”

Rheaume also suited up in another preseason game in 1993 before later helping Canada capture a silver medal in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

“Manon is an excellent communicator who brings a unique perspective and will play an important role in our hockey operations department,” Kings director of player personnel Nelson Emerson said. “She has the skill set to help bridge the gap for our young players throughout their development cycle and will be tasked with helping to introduce and maintain a level of understanding and accountability for our players as they work in conjunction with our development staff.”

–Field Level Media