The Islanders have yet to confirm reports that they have spoken with veteran NHL executive Lou Lamoriello about a position in their front office.
But there is a logic to a potential pairing: Islanders ownership has said it is evaluating ways to improve its hockey operations department and Lamoriello, who will turn 76 on Oct. 21, prefers to have a dominant voice in organizational decisions.
He left the Devils — who won three Stanley Cups under his leadership — on July 23, 2015, a little more than two months after ceding his general manager’s role to Ray Shero, and he lost influence in Toronto when Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan removed Lamoriello after three seasons as GM on April 30 and put him in an advisory role.
That prompted immediate speculation that the Islanders might turn to Lamoriello, whose son, Chris, has been an assistant GM since August 2016 under Garth Snow.
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.
The feeling around the NHL is that the Islanders could hire Lou Lamoriello as GM and have Snow retain his title as team president. The two are known to be close and it’s believed that they could coexist as front-office teammates.
But how might the Islanders’ hierarchy function with Lamoriello aboard?
The first thing to understand is that Lamoriello, at his best, is a highly successful micromanager, in its most positive connotation.
Hired as Devils president and GM in 1987, Lamoriello built a disciplined organization that became a perennial contender and won Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003. No detail — ranging from who needed a haircut to whether lights remained on in team offices — was too small for Lamoriello’s attention.
And though Lamoriello never shied away from speaking to the media, he kept a tight rein on the release of any meaningful information.
So if Lamoriello does come to the Islanders, the odds are it will be with some kind of guarantee that he can begin to mold the franchise in his image.
Which is not to say Lamoriello cannot work with others; Shanahan was the clear boss in Toronto. But Lamoriello likely would want to be the final voice on personnel decisions, players or otherwise.
That should make coach Doug Weight and his staff a little uncomfortable. With the Devils, Lamoriello never shied away from making changes. Just ask Robbie Ftorek, fired with eight games remaining in 1999-2000. Larry Robinson replaced him and led the Devils to the Cup.
There are some in the organization, besides Chris Lamoriello, with previous ties to the former Devils boss — most notably assistant coach Scott Gomez, a key member of the Devils’ last two Cup winners, and goaltending development coach Chris Terreri, Martin Brodeur’s former backup goalie.
But Lamoriello is not known for being sentimental in his hockey-related decisions.