The Islanders have a new boss in Lou Lamoriello, named on Tuesday as the president of hockey operations with full authority over all hockey decisions.
Here is a look back at Lamoriello’s best moves during his tenure as Devils president and general manager (1987-2015) and Maple Leafs GM (2015-18). Not included is Lamoriello using the first pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to select Auston Matthews because that was the consensus choice, even with Patrik Laine also available.
1. Getting Niedermayer
Defenseman Tom Kurvers was a decent player in his two full seasons with the Devils. But Lamoriello, figuring on the Maple Leafs not being a good team, swapped him to Toronto on Oct. 16, 1989 for a first-round pick and used that to select defenseman Scott Niedermayer third overall in 1991. Niedermayer was a key component on all three Devils Stanley Cup winners.
2. Building blocks
Bobby Holik also was a key contributor to all three of the Devils’ Cup wins, and Jay Pandolfo was a member of the 2000 and 2003 champions. Lamoriello acquired Holik and the second-round pick in 1993 used on Pandolfo from the Hartford Whalers on Aug. 28, 1992 for goalie Sean Burke and Eric Weinrich.
3. The superstar blockbuster
Sniper Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the NHL’s elite players when Lamoriello went out of character to acquire the impending unrestricted free agent from the Atlanta Thrashers on Feb. 4, 2010 in an eight-player deal, trading away Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, Johnny Oduya, a first- and second-rounder. Kovalchuk helped the Devils’ surprising run to the 2012 Cup Final before eventually “retiring” three seasons into a 15-year, $100-million deal.
4. The Devils’ goalies
Lamoriello set up the Devils for long-term sustained success when he selected Marty Brodeur 20th overall in the 1990 NHL Draft, the second goaltender off the board in what has been recognized as one of the deepest draft pools in league history Brodeur would help the Devils win three Stanley Cups in his 21 seasons. Brodeur was 41 when Lamoriello on June 30, 2013 swapped the ninth overall selection in that day’s NHL Draft — held at Prudential Center — to the Canucks (who picked Bo Horvat) for goalie Cory Schneider.
5. Shedding Phaneuf’s contract
Lamoriello somehow on Feb. 9, 2016, convinced the Senators to accept the final five-plus seasons of Dion Phaneuf’s albatross-like seven-year, $49-milllion deal, giving the Maple Leafs much needed salary cap flexibility. Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey went to Ottawa for Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg and a second-round pick.
6. Future Conn Smythe winner
Seeking toughness and playoff pedigree, Lamoriello acquired Claude Lemieux from the Canadiens on Sept. 4, 1990, for Sylvain Turgeon. Lemieux won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 1995 when the Devils won their first Cup.
7. Standing firm
When the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Brendan Shanahan in 1991, Lamoriello rejected the Blues’ compensation offer of goalie Curtis Joseph, Rod Brind’Amour and two picks, demanding defenseman Scott Stevens, who was eventually awarded to the Devils via arbitration on Sept. 4, 1991. The physical defenseman captained the Devils to three Cups.
8. The aging star
Alexander Mogilny was 31 when Lamoriello acquired him from the Canucks for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson on March 14, 2000. The Devils won that season’s Cup, then lost in next season’s Cup Final with Mogilny on board.
9. USA, USA
Another successful trade for the playoff push came as Lamoriello acquired Miracle on Ice Olympian Neal Broten from the Stars for Corey Millen on Feb. 27, 1995. Broten scored the Cup-winning goal in the Devils’ four-game sweep of the Red Wings that year.
10. Leafs’ netminder
Lamoriello certainly understands the importance of strong goaltending. He set up the Maple Leafs for success by acquiring netminder Frederik Andersen from the Ducks for a first-round pick in 2016 and a second-rounder in 2017.