The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Monday that they will not be bringing back general manager Lou Lamoriello, an NHL Hall of Famer who has helped rebuild the team into a promising future Eastern Conference contender.
The 75-year-old’s contract expired when his Leafs fell to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Lamoriello has built the reputation of helping build contenders and Stanley Cup winners after a three-decade with the New Jersey Devils. Beginning in 1987, he took a franchise that made the playoffs just once in its first 13 years of existence and developed it into a powerhouse.
In the ensuing 28 years, the Devils made the playoffs 21 times and won three Stanley Cups.
Toronto, which was a team that had made the postseason one time in the previous 10 seasons, brought him on prior to the 2015-16 season on a three-year contract. Over the last two years, the Maple Leafs won 40 and 49 games respectively and made the playoffs each year.
But with the expiration of his contract, the Maple Leafs chose not to bring him back in that role, which offered a glimmer of hope for the New York Islanders.
Under general manager and team president Garth Snow, the inconsistent and mediocre Islanders haven’t been able to attain any sort of continued success, which could lead to the departure of their star captain John Tavares, who is a free agent this summer. In Snow’s 12 seasons in New York’s front office, the Islanders have made the playoffs only four times and advanced out of the first round once.
This latest campaign was further proof that a change has to be made as the Islanders’ quiet trade deadline, along with a porous defense and questionable coaching, led to the downfall of a team that was in the thick of the playoff race in February.
Lamoriello’s possible availability provided a glimmer of hope that the Islanders could swoop in and grab the Hall of Famer considering he has connections to the team.
His son, Chris, has been the Islanders’ assistant general manager under Snow since 2016, which has helped Lou build a good relationship with the now-maligned New York GM.
However, the Leafs were quick to ensure that Lamoriello wasn’t going anywhere, squashing any thought of the Islanders bolstering their front office with a brilliant hockey mind.
“Three years ago, Lou and I agreed on a contract that would see him serve as General Manager of the Maple Leafs for three years and then transition to Senior Advisor for the following four years,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “This morning I informed Lou that I was not going to deviate from that course of action. I will now focus all of my attention towards making a decision regarding our next general manager.”