A little off the Devils track here, but some news out today that the Toronto Maple Leafs will not bring back Lou Lamoriello as General Manager for next season.
Lou, who won the Stanley Cup three times with the Devils (1995, 2000 and 2003) while serving as New Jersey’s GM for 28 years, held the position in Toronto for three seasons. In that time, the Leafs won the 2016 Draft Lottery, going on to pick Auston Matthews first overall in the subsequent Draft.
With Matthews, they would make the playoffs in both 2017 and 2018, losing in the first round in 2017 to the Washington Capitals (and a series ending goal by Marcus Johansson) and this year to the Boston Bruins.
The NHL.com press release mentioned that this season, the Leafs finished third in the Atlantic Division with a team-record 49 wins (106 points).
Team President and Alternate Governor (and former Devils player who was drafted by Lamoriello), Brendan Shanahan said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lou for his tireless work over the last three years as general manager. His leadership in helping establish a cultural foundation, as well as his invaluable mentorship to everyone in this organization, has been instrumental in our development.”
Lamoriello, who is now 75-years-old, singed a contract with the Maple Leafs three years ago that would see him serve as GM for three years and then “transition to senior adviser (sic) for the following four years.” according to Shanahan via the press release. Shanahan will begin looking for the team’s next GM immediately.
How this pertains to the Devils directly is more, now that Lamoriello is serving in an advisory role with the Leafs, will he be available to come back to Prudential Center and be honored in some way? That may be via a banner in the rafters, or more likely, in the Ring of Honor.
The Devils held off on inducting anyone into the Ring of Honor last season so as not to take away from Patrik Elias’ jersey retirement. Next season, they will be ripe to induct a new name and Lou just may fit that bill.
The fact that he is no longer in as prominent a role with the Maple Leafs might make that easier.
Time will tell on how the Devils honor Lou, or even if another team lures him away from Toronto. One thing is certain though, the man who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 has cemented his legacy by not only essentially building the Devils from scratch into one of the premier franchises in hockey, but also in helping resurrect one of the flagship franchises of the NHL in the Leafs.