As expected, Lou Lamoriello wasted no time making changes. The new Islanders Team President cleaned house by firing both former GM Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight earlier this afternoon.
The 75 years young Lou named himself the new general manager of the team. The search for a new coach for the Islanders begins immediately.
There you have it. In classic fashion dating back to the glory days with the Devils, Lamoriello is in full charge of another local franchise. This was always the easy move to make for a proven executive, who sounded energized in a recent interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. So, he has something in common with New York’s biggest sports talk radio personality. Neither are the retiring types.
It’ll be interesting to see what Lou decides to do next. He’ll want a coach in his no nonsense personality. He didn’t leave a easier post in Toronto to take it easy. He’s in Brooklyn (for now) for one reason. To rebuild on the fly a team that could be on the verge of losing its premier star, John Tavares to free agency. That all depends on the current Isles captain. Will he stay with favorite ex-coach Weight gone along with Snow? We don’t know.
It’s funny to see all these rumors spreading like wildfire on social media that Lamoriello will trade Tavares’ rights before July 1. How does anyone really know? He spoke to Tavares when he accepted the job. You never know with Lou.
The Islanders first need a coach, which could happen as soon as the Stanley Cup Final ends. The Capitals will get the first of three chances to win their first Cup on Thursday against the Golden Knights in Vegas. As soon as it concludes, expect Lamoriello to move fast. Maybe he’ll get permission to speak with Toronto Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe. Considering the ties to the Leafs, it makes sense.
There’s also the small possibility of Washington coach Barry Trotz, who could become the biggest coaching free agent. That is if the Caps don’t keep him. That doesn’t seem very likely with Trotz on the verge of guiding the franchise to its first championship.
Whatever Lamoriello decides, the Islanders are a whole lot more interesting now. No longer will they be the laughingstock of the NHL. There won’t be any more jokes about Snow having the same lifespan as current NBC analyst Mike Milbury. Both weren’t too successful with similar results. Only Snow had a team finally advance out of the first round thanks to Tavares’ heroics.
With soon to be named Calder winner Mathew Barzal ready for bigger things and top prospect Kieffer Bellows poised to be the next good player the Islanders produce, they should be okay for the future.
Lamoriello will have the task of re-signing Tavares and less discussed defenseman Calvin de Haan. A valuable player, who the team sorely missed. He also must choose a new number one goalie after Snow did nothing. Thomas Greiss and Jaro Halak aren’t starters.
He’ll want to see if he can sign 2014 fourth round pick Linus Soderstrom. A 21-year old Swedish goalie prospect who could hold the key to the future. Although he didn’t perform as well in ’17-18 for HV71 Jonkoping in Sweden, he’s an important player. Particularly with no positive development on 2014 third round pick Ilya Sorokin. A highly rated 22-year old Russian who stars for CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
All this makes the Isles one of the more intriguing teams to watch this summer.