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Islanders hire Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations (Update)

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It’s expected this week that the New York Islanders will officially announce the hiring of Lou Lamoriello to run their hockey operation department, according to Arthur Staple of The Athletic.

It’s unclear at the moment what specific role the 75-year-old Lamoriello will have within the organization. It’s possible he takes over the role of president of hockey operations or general manager, or potentially both. His son, Chris, is the Islanders’ assistant GM.

Last month, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Lamoriello would not return as their GM after three seasons at the helm.

Staple also confirmed a Hockey30 report that Lamoriello met with Islanders captain John Tavares last week ahead of this move. Tavares is set to become an unrestricted free agent only July 1.

There are many questions to be answered as we wait for the Islanders to announce this move. First, what does this mean for the beards of Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd, as well as the mustache of Cal Clutterbuck?

Next, where does current GM Garth Snow stand? He’s been running the show since 2006 and has a contract for at least four more seasons. The team has made the playoffs only four times during his tenure and advanced out of the first round once. The fan base demanded change once this season went off the rails, with billboards purchased in Brooklyn calling for Snow’s firing. During an end-of-season press conference in April, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said Snow and head coach Doug Weight would be staying for now, but that he would be “evaluating all aspects of our hockey operations.”

The next question is the biggest and that has to do with Tavares. He’s said time and time again that he wants to re-sign, but hasn’t inked an extension and hasn’t given any indication what factors would sway him one way or the other. A new arena on Long Island is coming. But is this change in management and whatever Lamoriello told him in their chat enough to convince him to not explore free agency and commit to staying with the franchise? Only time will tell. But this change could be a good first step forward for the franchise.

UPDATE: The Islanders made the news official on Tuesday morning, with Lamoriello getting the title of president of hockey operations. “He will have full authority over all hockey matters with the organization” was also noted in the press release. Farewell, Garth?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Lou Lamoriello not returning as Maple Leafs GM; time for Dubas or Hunter?

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a new general manager next season as Lou Lamoriello will not return in that role for the 2018-19 NHL season.

When Lamoriello was hired in 2o15, the deal was that he would be the GM for three seasons and then move to an advisor position. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement on Monday that he wouldn’t be altering from that original plan. “I will now focus all of my attention towards making a decision regarding our next general manager,” he wrote.

It’s been quite a turnaround in the last three years for the Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews sure helps, but Lamoriello also dealt for goaltender Frederik Andersen (2016) and signed Patrick Marleau (2017), both of whom played big parts in helping the team return to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. (Pension Plan Puppets has a great breakdown of all of his moves as Toronto’s GM.)

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Now comes the two-headed speculation monster: Who takes over for Lamoriello and will Lamoriello remain as an advisor with the Maple Leafs?

First things first, ever since Lamoriello was installed as GM in 2015, the thought was that next in line would be Kyle Dubas or Mark Hunter, the team’s assistant GMs. Both are still with the club with the Maple Leafs blocking Dubas from taking the job of running the entire hockey operations department of the Colorado Avalanche when they came calling last year. One issue that might stem from Shanahan choosing one over the other is what will happen to the one who doesn’t get the job? Will he stay or leave for a bigger opportunity elsewhere? Both are highly thought of in the organization.

The GM decision needs to happen fast as there are some big off-season decisions to make for the Maple Leafs. James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak are their big-name unrestricted free agents, while William Nylander, set to become a restricted free agent, needs a new contract. They could have around $28 million in cap space should the ceiling go up at least $3 million like it’s expected, so how would extensions, plus any other free agent signings fit into their plans for next season? Big decisions ahead.

Finally, the hot rumor of the week has Lamoriello leaving the Maple Leafs to join the New York Islanders and replacing Garth Snow as GM. Lamoriello’s son, Chris, is the team’s assistant GM. Would Lou head to Long Island, run the show for a few years and hand the reins to his son? Co-owner Jon Ledecky said last month that he will be “evaluating all aspects” of the organization this off-season. Could that mean “waiting for the right name(s) to come available” in regards to the futures of Snow and head coach Doug Weight?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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

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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:

Lamoriello’s departure removes any doubt: Devils are Shero’s team

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Lou Lamoriello becoming the Toronto Maple Leafs’ new GM wasn’t just a surprise to New Jersey Devils fans. Executives didn’t see it coming, either.

Principal owner Josh Harris told the press that he found out “very recently” that Lamoriello wasn’t happy about a power-sharing situation with new GM Ray Shero.

“When you’re used to having absolute control of an organization… it was a different situation,” Harris said of Lamoriello, according to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere.

Shero is the new sheriff in town

Speaking of absolute power, it sounds like Shero will clearly be the man in charge, rather than dealing with more of a transition with Lamoriello as president. Harris said that he doesn’t feel the need to hire a new team president after this stunning departure.

Shero admitted that he was “surprised” that Lamoriello left for Toronto.

What’s next for New Jersey?

While Harris made the typical overtures about the team being willing to spend, it indeed sounds like the franchise may play it tight and rebuild:

As far as team-building goes, this is quite clearly Shero’s unquestioned regime now, but some other executive matters may be a collective effort.

Harris admits that he’ll miss Lamoriello, yet maybe pictures like these provide a decent argument that it might be best for everyone to remove such a looming, overwhelming presence. At least if they want to make some changes:

source: AP
Via AP

Lamoriello uncertain if he’ll return behind Devils’ bench vs. Avs

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For the first time since taking over as head coach in December Lou Lamoriello watched from the press box as the Devils fell 6-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

According to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record, the 72-year-old is uncertain of whether he’ll return behind the New Jersey bench tonight when the Devils visit the Colorado Avalanche.

“I think there’s been enough discussion on that as far as what I can and can’t do there,” Lamoriello said. “There’s things that you can find out from both areas because there’s a different viewpoint. It’s not that you don’t have that. It’s just a decision of what’s going to be best going forward.”

As for what he saw in the loss Tuesday, Lamoriello said, “We got outchanced, we got outmuscled and we were beat to the puck.They were a desperate team and mentally, I thought, we did some things that I haven’t seen us do for quite a while. So, we just have to respond to that.”

Colorado (30-26-11) won the only other meeting of the season 3-2 on Nov. 15.

The Avs remain mathematically in the hunt for a wild card spot in the Western Conference, but their playoff hopes took a blow in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the L.A. Kings.

Colorado trails Winnipeg for the second wild card spot by seven points with both teams having played the same amount of games.