Tag: Brendan Shanahan

Lou Lamoriello

Full autonomy: Lamoriello’s place in Leafs’ chain of command


How would a front office that once pondered not naming a GM at all handle the addition of an executive who’s accustomed to wielding Zeus-like control?

When the shock of the Toronto Maple Leafs naming Lou Lamoriello as their new general manager wore off, people began wondering how, exactly, everything would work. It seems simple enough, though: Lamoriello will wield the typical stopping power of a GM, answering only to Brendan Shanahan, as TSN noted from his presser:

“That’s what I’m told,” Lamoriello said. “I report to Brendan. And the other people report to me.”

While Lamoriello noted that he’s “not going to be here for a lifetime,” the 72-year-old’s three-year contract is at least part of the argument against this being a transitional hire (with young assistant GM Kyle Dubas potentially taking the reins).

Instead, it sounds the future of that executive position is quite open-ended:

It’s truly been a drastic couple of years of changes with Shanahan in charge, as the team replaced Randy Carlyle with Mike Babcock, Dave Nonis with Lamoriello, seemed to do a 180 on analytics and even traded Phil Kessel.

As much as executives preach patience, it’s tough to shake the feeling that the drama’s just starting.

Here’s video of the press conference:

Shanahan on Kessel: ‘There’s been a lot of interest’

The Toronto Maple hold their post season media availibility and team President Brendan Shanahan holds a press conference to answer questions

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan admitted on Thursday that there has been significant interest on the availability of winger Phil Kessel, but on the eve of the NHL Draft, there’s no concrete offer on the table.

“He’s probably garnered the most interest. He’s probably the player that’s gotten the most phone calls,” Shanahan said on Thursday in Florida. “I think there’s some competition out there amongst teams that want him, that want other players of ours, and we might keep him. We’re not really committing to anything one way or another right now.

“We have time on our side. We don’t feel we have to do anything knee-jerk on some self-imposed or outer-imposed deadline.”

Reports have suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins are amongst the teams interested in the 27-year-old’s services.

Kessel has a list of eight teams he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause for, and according to Shanahan trade talks have not progressed to the point of contacting the player.

“Until we have a deal, there’s no point involving any players,” he said. “It’s mostly, up until now, just been talk and progression of talk. I don’t think we’ve been at a point where there’s a definitive offer out there, but there’s been some really encouraging conversations that have started weeks ago and have grown and are continuing to grow.”

Kessel’s eight-year, $64 million deal carries an $8 million cap hit for the next seven seasons.

By his standards Kessel had an off year in 2014-15.

He scored 25 goals and 61 points in 82 games and finished with a minus-34 rating. It was his lowest goal total in an 82-game season since 2007-08 (his second year in the league).

“When you have a guy like that, who is such a natural goal-scorer in the prime of his career, everybody wants goal-scoring,” said Shanahan. “Obviously in a cap world it’s not as easy for everybody to fit that player in as there used to be in the old days. But he’s a great player and a great goal-scorer; great finisher so there’s been a lot of interest.”

Related: Report: Leafs would take a contract back in a Kessel trade

No GM, no problem for the Maple Leafs?

Mike Babcock, Brendan Shanahan

People can get pretty obsessed with job titles in sports, especially in a city where blame and attention are in such large supply as they are in Toronto.

Maple Leafs executive Brendan Shanahan is restructuring the team to the beat of his own drum, though, it seems … and apparently naming an official general manager really isn’t a big deal right now. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston passes along this intriguing bit from Shanahan on Tuesday:

A gut reaction is that this is a serious nod of approval for assistant GM Kyle Dubas, especially just days after HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman reported that trade calls are going through the young executive:

The Maple Leafs sent out a communiqué last week indicating any team wanting to talk trade should go through assistant GM Kyle Dubas. This led to speculation maybe Dubas would be elevated to the full-time GM position, but that appears premature. Director of player personnel Mark Hunter is responsible for draft selections, so it doesn’t look like Toronto wanted to add another 72-ounce Lone Star steak to his plate. What it does say, though, is Brendan Shanahan really trusts Dubas. That’s big responsibility at this time in the franchise’s existence.

As you can see from that excerpt, Dubas isn’t controlling every facet of roster-building, as Hunter seemingly runs the draft show.

Maybe it really means that, for the time being, the Leafs boast a GM-by-committee approach?

Along with Dubas and Hunter, Shanahan likely holds significant sway (possibly the most). Even so, deep-pocketed new head coach Mike Babcock probably has some serious input into the makeup of the team, too. One can picture any number of ways the Maple Leafs may make decisions, and compartmentalizing them could very well allow people to play to their strengths.

One thing seems clear: this franchise is advancing well beyond the days when they seemingly didn’t spend a penny on analytics.


Speaking of spending money and doing things a GM might do, the Maple Leafs made it official that they’ve signed Petter Granberg and Tim Erixon to one-year deals while Zach Hyman received a two-year, two-way contract.

Report: Toronto approached Chiarelli before he took Oilers job

Peter Chiarelli

Peter Chiarelli is already at work assessing the Edmonton Oilers depth chart.

The newly appointed President of Hockey Operations and GM of the Oilers was reportedly at prospect Leon Draisaitl’s game with the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night. With Chiarelli on the scouting trip was former GM Craig MacTavish.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Chiarelli has asked MacTavish to remain with the club at a position, which has yet to be defined. Chiarelli is also expected to meet with current Oilers’ head coach Todd Nelson in the coming days.

Friedman reports that prior to Chiarelli taking the Oilers job, the Leafs called the 50-year-old to gauge his interest in the in the Toronto vacancy.

The Leafs fired GM Dave Nonis along with interim head coach Peter Horachek and several scouts on April 12.

Leafs’ President Brendan Shanahan is also reportedly interested in both Sean Burke and George McPhee for GM role. The pair are currently part of Team Canada’s management staff for the upcoming World Hockey Championship.

Nonis ‘disappointed’, but understands firing

Dave Nonis

Part of Dave Nonis felt he was meeting with President Brendan Shanahan to discuss the next phase of their rebuilding plan when the two met on April 12 – the day after the regular season ended.

Speaking for the first time since his firing, Nonis tells the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons part of him also felt change was coming.

“He told me he was making a change,” Nonis said of the conversation with Shanahan. “I pretty much knew what he was thinking … I understand the reasons behind it. I’m not mad at Brendan. He’s still a friend of mine. But still, I was disappointed.

“There’s no hard feelings or ill will. I understand why he decided to make the change. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. I thought we got along very well throughout the year. But I’ve been in the game a long time. I understand why you do this.”

Nonis along with interim head coach Peter Horachek and several scouts were let go at the conclusion of the Leafs’ season, which saw Toronto finish 30-44-8 – good for 27th overall.

“It’s a combination of everything,” said Nonis of the Leafs’ struggles. “I wish I could pinpoint all the reasons of what went wrong. I know people put the collapses together. But I don’t. The last three were different. There’s a lot of blame to go around. But I still don’t think this is a bottom-four roster. There are a lot of assets here. And with the draft picks we’ve accumulated, hopefully a lot of assets going forward.”

Under Nonis’ leadership the Leafs qualified for the playoffs in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season snapping a seven-year drought. It was Nonis’ first season as GM of the club and it earned him a five-year contract extension, which will earn him a reported $6 million over the next three years.

One of Nonis’ biggest failures in his tenure as Leafs’ GM was the signing of David Clarkson to a seven-year, $36.75 million contract. Nonis dealt Clarkson ahead of the March trade deadline to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton, who will likely never play again.

The 48-year-old confirmed he had deals in place for other Leafs’ veterans at the deadline as well.

“I could have traded Dion (Phaneuf) at the deadline,” said Nonis. “We had a deal, it wasn’t a great one, but it was a deal. I look at Phil and Dion and I still think they’re elite, upper-end players. They both could be traded, but it’s not like the Leafs are stuck with them if they’re back. I think they can come back and help them.”

When it comes to Phil Kessel, Nonis doesn’t believe moving the forward should be a top priority.

“I don’t think they have to move Phil Kessel,” said Nonis. “You only move him if you decide the return is worth it. If you don’t get value for him, you’re only hurting your team. I believe the baggage that comes with Phil is overblown. Are there things he has to change? Absolutely. But I can assure you of this: Whatever team wins the Stanley Cup this year will have a Phil Kessel in the lineup. I can guarantee that.

“Does he have things to work on? Yes. But he has something other players don’t have. He does have pride and he does want to win. He has to learn to focus some of those characteristics and do a better job. But he’s not a player they have to move.”

As for what’s next? Nonis doesn’t plan on sitting around and collecting his checks from the Leafs.

“I want to get back in the game as quickly as possible,” he said. “That’s the plan.”

Related: Shanahan promises more changes — ‘yesterday was just the beginning’