Ever since Lou Lamoriello was removed from his general-manager role with the Toronto Maple Leafs to become a senior advisor, the Hall of Famer was constantly linked to the New York Islanders, a franchise in desperate need of a savior in the front office.
It looks like all those talks look to have some merit after a report from Sportsnet’s John Shannon disclosed that the Islanders and Lamoriello have in fact spoken about a possible future together.
Neither the Islanders nor Lamoriello have confirmed Shannon’s reports, which isn’t much of a surprise considering the legendary GM is known for keeping all his cards extremely close to the vest.
It’s a style that’s done nothing but work for him, though, as he helped the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup titles while turning around a Maple Leafs organization that hadn’t made the playoffs for a decade before his arrival in 2015.
His tenure in Toronto though was mapped out as he and team president Brendan Shanahan had an agreement that the 75-year-old would stay on for three seasons as GM before shifting to a general manager role.
While Shanahan kept his word, promoting assistant GM and 32-year-old Kyle Dubas on Friday, it appears that Lamoriello isn’t ready to relinquish a dominant role within a team’s front office.
A general manager with his experience is something the Islanders desperately need as they have been stuck in neutral for the last 12 years under current team president and GM Garth Snow.
Snow and Lamoriello are close as the Islanders hired his son, Chris, as assistant general manager in 2016, which could help ensure there are no growing pains should the two parties come to an agreement this offseason.
For fans pleading for Snow to be removed from New York’s front office, it likely won’t happen. As Lamoriello would likely have a final say on all roster decisions, Snow would retain his role as president, though he would likely be a figurehead more than anything.
Still, it would give the organization that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since its four-year dynasty from 1980-1983 a proven voice in the front office that has a track record of taking downtrodden organizations and building them into contenders.
It would also give the Islanders legitimacy on the free-agent market, which is incredibly vital to their future considering star captain John Tavares could be testing the market this summer.
Retaining Tavares with Lamoriello building a dangerous team around him — all while the Islanders prepare to move into a new arena in a few seasons — could give the organization something it hasn’t had in decades: Relevance.