Lou Lamoriello Joins the Toronto Maple Leafs
The search for the next general manager in Toronto is over. The Leafs announced that former New Jersey Devils president Lou Lamoriello will be the 16th general manager in team history. This comes as a shock to every one in the hockey world, but for anyone who knows Lamoriello, keeping things a secret is just how he likes to do business.
The 72-year-old leaves the Devils after spending 28 years as part of the organization. In that time, Lamoriello saw his team make the playoffs 21 times, win nine division titles, appear in five Stanley Cup finals and win three Stanley Cups. For the longest time, the Devils were considered one of hockey’s greatest franchises and a model for other teams to try and replicate. Despite having little success over the last few seasons, his contributions to the team will forever be remembered by fans and everyone who worked with him.
The Providence, RI native won over a thousand games in the NHL as GM/head coach of the Devils, including thirteen straight seasons of 40-plus wins. He finished with a regular season record of 1093-759-179-109 and added another 136 wins in the playoffs. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 and later joined the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on July 12, 2012.
For the Leafs, they’ve had one of the better off seasons in recent history. After landing Mike Babcock earlier in the year, Toronto now has arguably the two greatest minds in the NHL both working for them. The new power couple in hockey have a wealth of experience that should make the Leafs a better hockey team starting next season.
Lamoriello will once again be given the task of taking a below-average hockey team and turning them into a playoff team for many years to come. The Devils were known for being one of the most boring teams to watch on a nightly basis, but that boring style of hockey was the key to their success, leading them to all those Stanley Cup Finals. Lou has never been one to do things by the book, so expect the Leafs new GM to build a team that is very good from the goaltending position out.
His first order of business will surely be solidifying that god-awful Leafs blue line. Toronto finished 26th in goals against average per game last season (3.13 GA/GP) and gave up the second most shots per game (33.5 SA/GP). With the Leafs trading away Phil Kessel this offseason, expect their style of play to be a defense-first kind of play, just how Lamoriello likes it. It may be boring at first to watch, but if it helps Toronto win some games, fans shouldn’t complain too much about it.
For a full Toronto Maple Leafs team breakdown, make sure to check out NHL 30 For 30–Toronto Maple Leafs.
Despite Lamoriello and Babcock joining the Leafs, this team is still miles away from being a playoff team. They do however have the right people in place to help them change that. With the expectations in Toronto now at an all-time high, the pressure to win a Stanley Cup will be greater than ever. Whether fans want to accept it or not, Toronto is entering a rebuilding stage, so expectations for this team should be limited. They will, however, be a much more competitive team on the ice and play a more structured game of hockey than in the past. The Leafs now have the best front office in the entire league, but it will be up to the players on this team to execute the game plan every night and elevate their game to another level, something they haven’t been able to do over the last decade.