Could a move for a general manager be in the works? According to several sources, the New York Islanders might land themselves general manager Lou Lamoriello this offseason.
As reported by John Shannon of HockeyCentral on Sportsnet, former Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders are officially talking.
Can confirm the NY Islanders and Lou Lamoriello are now talking about a position within that organization.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) May 11, 2018
Lamoriello served as the Maple Leafs’ general manager for the past three seasons but on April 30, team president Brendan Shanahan announced that he would not return as GM. Earlier today, the team announced that they had filled their GM vacancy by promoting assistant GM Kyle Dubas.
This was the plan all along as the contract was reportedly structured with three years as the team’s GM and an additional three as an advisor.
Lamoriello’s team made the playoffs in two of the three seasons he was GM and he has a lot to do with that.
Most notably, Lamoriello traded the team’s 2016 first-round pick (Sam Steel, 30th overall) and 2017 second-rounder (Maxime Comtois, 50th overall) to the Anaheim Ducks for goaltender Frederik Andersen, who he signed to a five-year deal worth $25 million on the same day. Imagine where the Leafs would be without Andersen, who faced 136 more shots than any other goaltender (2,211) and subsequently made the most saves (2,029) this past season.
In addition, Lamoriello was able to get rid of Dion Phaneuf’s contract in a blockbuster trade with the Ottawa Senators ahead of the 2016 trade deadline.
At this past trade deadline, he helped the Leafs shore up their center depth by acquiring Tomas Plekanec (and Kyle Baun) from Montreal in exchange for Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev, and a 2018 second-round pick. Plekanec only had two assists in 17 regular-season games with the Leafs but he was clutch when they needed him to be with two goals and four points in the team’s first-round exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
The point here is that when Lamoriello sees an issue with his team, he doesn’t sit back and wait for the issue to resolve itself. If he thinks his team has a goaltending problem, he goes out there and aggressively goes after a goaltender.
If he feels that a certain player’s cap hit is holding them back from making other moves, he goes out of his way to move that contract.
If he thinks his team is going to be in the playoff hunt, he makes moves to improve weaknesses on the team.
This is good news if you’re an Islanders fan because the team has some pretty blatant issues: Their goaltending situation is shaky at best and they lack a desperately needed shutdown defenseman. They also have some pretty bad contracts they probably regret and would like to get rid of.
A few weeks ago, Chris Botta of SNY’s Point Blank reported that the Islanders were looking for a top executive to join the hockey operations department. As each day goes by, it looks more and more likely that Lamoriello is going to be that guy.
Garth Snow is the current GM of the Islanders, as he has been for the past 12 seasons, and it has been made pretty clear he isn’t going anywhere. However, he is also the President and Alternate Governor of the team.
Is it possible the Isles simply remove one of those positions from Snow and give it to Lamoriello?
Lou’s son Chris has served as the Islanders’ Assistant GM for the past two seasons so there is a family connection there. Also, he reportedly has a very good relationship with Snow.
If Lamoriello does join the Islanders organization, he’ll have his hands full pretty quickly. The Islanders are currently slated to draft 11th and 12th overall in this year’s draft.
Their franchise player and captain, John Tavares, will become a free agent on July 1 if a deal cannot be worked out between him and the team. Calvin de Haan, one of the team’s best shutdown defenseman, is also scheduled to hit free agency unless both parties can agree on a deal. Thomas Hickey has been a regular in the Islanders’ lineup since he was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings during the lockout-shortened 2013 season; he is also scheduled to become a free agent.
The goaltending situation is up in the air with Jaroslav Halak and Christopher Gibson both heading into the free agency without a deal.
Brock Nelson, Brandon Davidson, and Ryan Pulock are among some of the notable restricted free agents (RFA) the team will have to deal with this summer.