Once again, Lou Lamoriello is not expected to remain out of power for long.
The Islanders are set to announce that the veteran NHL executive will be joining the organization, according to a league source. Until three weeks ago, Lamoriello was the Maple Leafs general manager and previously was the Devils president and general manager
The source said Lamoriello, who turns 76 on Oct. 21, will be in charge of hockey operations, though whether he will be named president or general manager — or both — is still unclear. Regardless of the title, the source said Lamoriello will be allowed to implement his hands-on style of management with final say on hockey matters.
That means the future of current president and general manager Garth Snow, the subject of pointed fan criticism this past season, is also unclear. By extension, it also no longer seems a certainty coach Doug Weight will be retained for a second full season.
Lamoriello, in a brief telephone conversation with Newsday on Monday, declined to comment.
However, reports on Monday indicated Lamoriello, acting on behalf of the Islanders, already had reached out to impending unrestricted free agent John Tavares, whose re-signing is the organization’s top offseason priority among player decisions.
Off the ice, co-owner Jon Ledecky made it clear on April 9 that evaluating the hockey operations department was also a key priority.
Ledecky opened a news conference at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow by apologizing to the team’s fans for another playoff-less season. Both Snow and Weight told Newsday that day they had been led to believe they would be retained.
“We are committed to long-term success,” Ledecky said on April 9. “Any decisions we make are for the long-term success of our hockey club. We win and lose together as an organization, not as individuals. Missing the playoffs is beyond disappointing. At the same time, we believe we have a strong core of players that will be the basis for our success on the ice.”
Snow has been the Islanders GM since July 18, 2006, but the Islanders have made the playoffs only four times in his tenure, winning one playoff series. This past season marked the second straight year they’ve missed the postseason.
Snow’s tenure, though, could be considered a success when compared with his predecessor, Mike Milbury — overlooking Neil Smith’s 40 days as Islanders GM.
Milbury ran the Islanders from 1995-2006 and his Islanders made the playoffs only three times without winning a round.
In fact, since the Islanders won their fourth straight Stanley Cup in 1983, they have won only eight playoff series.
Hired first as the Devils president in 1987 and, shortly after that adding the general manager’s duties, Lamoriello built a disciplined organization that became a perennial contender and won Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
He left the Devils on July 23, 2015, a little more than two months after ceding his GM role to Ray Shero, and joined the Maple Leafs under president Brendan Shanahan and with coach Mike Babcock already hired away from the Red Wings.
Aided by selecting generational talent Auston Matthews first overall in 2016, the Maple Leafs made the playoffs in each of Lamoriello’s last two seasons as GM but did not win a round.
Still, the Maple Leafs were 49-26-7 this past season, setting a franchise record with 105 points.
But Shanahan removed Lamoriello as GM on April 30 and put him in an advisory role in Toronto, promoting 32-year-old Kyle Dubas from assistant GM on May 11. The speculation was immediate that Lamoriello could be a candidate to join the Islanders.
Lamoriello’s son, Chris, has been an assistant GM under Snow since August 2016.