Lamoriello hired as Islanders president of hockey operations
Former Maple Leafs, Devils general manager aims to bring New York 'back to where they were'by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
Lou Lamoriello was hired as president of hockey operations of the New York Islanders on Tuesday, taking over a team with a rich past but one Stanley Cup Playoff series victory since 1993.
"First of all, I was impressed with the conversation I had with [managing partner] Scott Malkin and his vision, his commitment and his support to the Islanders," Lamoriello said during a conference call. "I also look at it as a challenge to bring the Islanders back to where they were."
Lamoriello, 75, will have full authority over all hockey matters. His son, Chris Lamoriello, has been with the Islanders the past two seasons and was assistant general manager this season.
Lamoriello wasn't ready to say whether there will be more changes in the Islanders front office; Garth Snow has been Islanders president and GM since July 18, 2006. New York has reached the playoffs four times since then and has missed the past two seasons, going 35-37-10 this season. The Islanders' first-round win against the Florida Panthers in 2016 is their only playoff series victory since 1993.
"Right now, I have no preconceived notions," Lamoriello said. "I've certainly spoken to the people there. As I've done in the past in a situation like this, I take a step back and see exactly what the people who you have in place have to offer, what their thoughts are, what their vision is, and then make decisions as I go along.
"You always lean on the people that are incumbent. You have to use whatever time is there to do whatever you feel is the right decision. There's no time frame for anything. But when there is time, you use it. When there isn't, you make a decision."
Video: Islanders name Lou Lamoriello new president
Said Malkin: "We are committed to giving Lou every resource and the full support of the entire organization as we pursue our program to compete at the highest level."
Lamoriello's first major task will be attempting to re-sign center John Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Tavares, the No. 1 pick at the 2009 NHL Draft, has 621 points (272 goals, 349 assists) in 669 games with the Islanders. He has been their captain since Sept. 9, 2013.
Lamoriello would not respond to questions about a report stating he has already met with Tavares about his future.
"When it comes to talking to players, whether it be with contracts, whether it be personally or whether it be coaches, anything that has to do with their own situation, I will never comment about it," Lamoriello said. "I haven't in the past and won't.
"I think everyone in the National Hockey League knows about John Tavares. He's one of the elite players, a gentleman on and off the ice. He's just a quality individual, as well as a quality player. I don't know any better way of describing him."
Lamoriello was GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs the past three seasons. They went 118-95-33 under his direction and improved each season. They were 29-42-11 in 2015-16, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but won the 2016 Draft Lottery and used the No. 1 pick on center Auston Matthews, who won the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top rookie, after finishing with 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) in the 2016-17 season.
The Maple Leafs finished 40-27-15 last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13. They were defeated in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Washington Capitals in six games.
Video: Lou Lamoriello to run Islanders' hockey operations
This season, Toronto went 49-26-7 and set Maple Leafs records for wins and points (105) to finish third in the Atlantic Division. But the Maple Leafs lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round after reaching the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Lamoriello was removed as Maple Leafs general manager and named senior adviser April 30. Kyle Dubas replaced him as GM on May 11.
"I'd like to once again express our deepest appreciation to Lou Lamoriello for the work he did over the last three years as our general manager and congratulate him on his new role with the Islanders," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said. "Lou's contributions to the Toronto Maple Leafs will be felt for years to come. We wish him the best."
Lamoriello resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils to become the 16th GM of the Maple Leafs on July 23, 2015. He won the Stanley Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003) with the Devils and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.
"My first year in the League, the first playoff run that we had, we had to beat the Islanders to go forward [in 1988]," Lamoriello said. "I had a flavor of what the competitiveness was at that time. Those are my memories of the Islanders, and that's what you like to think of, the positives going forward."
Lamoriello said he was close friends with former Islanders GM Bill Torrey, who died on May 3. Torrey was the architect of the Islanders' four straight Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83.
"I have so many positive recollections of the Islanders," Lamoriello said. "Bill Torrey was an outstanding friend to me from Day One. Even when I was in the college ranks, I communicated with Bill. We'd been friends up until, unfortunately, his passing. Anytime you have an organization win the number of championships they have won in a period of time that they won it with the type of core players and character that they had, you know a lot about it."