Lou Done It: Lamoriello Shocks Everyone By Ditching The Devils For The Maple Leafs
As I got in my car on Thursday to make the 15-minute commute to work I was doing so with the knowledge that the man who had been with the New Jersey Devils for 28-years, Lou Lamoriello, was still the team’s acting president. However by the time I arrived at work, Lamoriello had resigned his post with the Devils and had already been announced as the new general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. All I could picture was Ron Burgundy drinking a Miller High Life and saying, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”
If you were caught off guard, imagine how the Devils and their fans must’ve felt. One minute the 72-year old Lamoriello who had lead New Jersey to 21 playoff appearances during his 28-year tenure with the team as well as five Eastern Conference titles and three Stanley Cup championships (1995, 2000 and 2003) is helping to retool the current roster and the next he’s out the door faster than you can say “Lamoriello” and headed north to Toronto. Talk about a punch in the gut.
— New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) July 23, 2015
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 23, 2015
I mean honestly, what happened in Newark because those tweets are roughly two-minutes a part. How could a man who had bled black and red for all these years suddenly just up and leave?
The answer is quite simple really and had been written on the wall for the past three months, Lamoriello underestimated his need for control and thought he could handle stepping back from general manager to team president. He thought he could be the guy in the background while new GM Ray Shero was calling the shots but he was obviously mistaken and when the opportunity to do so for a young, rebuilding Maple Leafs team that recently had hired coaching guru Mike Babcock to man the pine was made available to him by old pal Brendan Shanahan, how could Lamoriello say no?
So now the legendary Lamoriello heads to Toronto where he will lend his expertise in an attempt to bring the Maple Leafs their first Stanley Cup since 1967 and he’ll get to do so as the general manager, a position he clearly feels more comfortable in as made clear but his current actions, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t questions remaining. If Lamoriello didn’t like the feeling of having no control in New Jersey how will he get along with the massive egos that are already in place in Toronto in Shanahan and Babcock? Will he actually have full control of the roster and should he for that matter? Also, Shanahan has stated before he wants the team to take a more modern and analytical approach to building their roster, is the old dog Lamoriello going to learn some new tricks?
At the end of the day time will tell if the decision by Lamoriello was the right one for himself, the Leafs and Devils. However, one thing is certain, time is one thing Lamoriello didn’t waste when making the move from New Jersey to Toronto and he’ll need to bring that same decisiveness when helping to shape the Leafs roster if he wants to bring them to the heights he once brought the Devils. He also may want to give up just a little bit of control but as we’ve recently found out, that’s not exactly his strong suit.