It’s been nearly a month since Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky addressed the media and fans saying that the entire hockey operations department would be evaluated.
Since then rumors and speculation have swirled as what — if any — changes would be made to the front office, which included the idea of Lou Lamoriello possibly taking over as general manager. On Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Lamoriello would not return as GM next year, but would remain as a senior advisor to team president Brendan Shannahan.
Lamoriello’s contract with the Leafs included three years as general manager and another four as a senior advisor, so it would seem that the seasoned hockey executive won’t be available to the Islanders anytime soon.
“First of all, my responsibility is right here with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I made an agreement and a decision three years ago and it’s my intent to honor that,” Lamoriello told reporters on a conference call Monday.
Still, it wouldn’t be unheard of to see Lamoriello change his mind down the road. In fact, it was in 2015 when Lamoriello stepped down as general manager of the New Jersey Devils when Ray Shero was hired and take a reduced role as team president.
Lamoriello lasted less than three months in that position before taking the job as the general manager in Toronto. And it would be hard to imagine his contract with the Maple Leafs didn’t have an out clause if another general manager opportunity appeared.
The Islanders could very well provide that opportunity for Lamoriello, who architected three Stanley Cup championships with the New Jersey Devils and helped fast-track the Maple Leafs rebuild to back-to-back playoff appearances. The Islanders, however, have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons and have just one playoff series win under current GM Garth Snow’s leadership.
It’s been well documented why the 75-year-old hockey executive would make sense to join the Islanders organization. He has a, reportedly, good working relationship with Snow and his son Chris has been the team’s assistant GM since 2016.
It would be quite the scenario, right?
The elder Lamoriello comes in to help right the ship and put the Islanders back on course for success and then hands over the reigns to the younger Lamoriello after grooming him as his successor. Hard to pass up, isn’t it?
Now, Snow would likely still be around as president of hockey operations, but the fanbase would happily take that if it meant bringing in someone fo Lamoriello’s pedigree.
What happens next, in reality, is anyone’s guess. Ownership has been silent since Ledecky’s initial statement on the final day of team exit meetings and a rather head-scratching letter to the fans the following day.
While the rest of the hockey world has seen a number of changes in the coaching and front office staffs of several teams the Islanders remains the same.
Adding Lamoriello would be a huge step in the right direction for the Islanders, now let’s see if they try to take it.