As soon as the final buzzer went off at the end of Game 7, the questions around the future of the Leafs took to the surface. Some have already been answered in the last few weeks including the important one as to who will be the next general manager. Regardless of the narrative, it’s no surprise to see that Kyle Dubas was appointed to take the job.
Which brought us to question number two. What happens with Lou Lamoriello? The optimistic, happy-go-lucky voice of reason in us said, “Don’t worry. He’ll definitely want to see this through.” Then came the reports that Lou was in talks to join the New York Islanders, and it was all but confirmed on Monday.
Good news for the Islanders, wouldn’t you say? They could use a guy like Lou in their front office to add some much-needed support to Garth Snow (assuming he survives the offseason). He didn’t do his team and John Tavares any favours this season.
The Islanders were in that bubble of teams looking to make a late push to the playoffs. Mr. Snow answered their prayers and granted them, Brandon Davidson. Not the addition they hoped for considering their defensive woes, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
That most likely didn't sway Tavares’ thoughts on management. With all their cards played, the next move for the Islanders was to use the ‘Lou Card.’
I’m just going to piggyback off what Katya wrote in the report from yesterday here. Lou joining the Islanders may not guarantee a Tavares extension. Think about it. Whatever the 28-year-old makes this summer, it’s going to start with at least a 10.
The Islanders could choose to give him that seeing as how he’s their franchise player, but you have to keep in mind who is coming. And that who is Mathew Barzal. Putting up 22 goals and 63 assists in a rookie season is a mighty fine total. But all good things come to an end, the good being his entry-level contract.
There’s no telling what heights Barzal could reach in the next two seasons and what he will command when those talks pick up. It may be tight to deal with if the Islanders already have Tavares making $10-12 million.
Perhaps Lou joining up does the exact opposite of what many expect: Make Barzal the focal point of the organization and move on from Tavares. The man has been part of NHL offices for north of 30 years! If he’s against putting away so much money on one player, then he’ll make the decision without batting an eye.
I know what you may be thinking and yes, Lou won’t officially join the team until after July 1st, and to that, I say, “Come on.” He doesn't need a title to start getting his work done.
Interesting stuff if you ask me. If Lou does go this route, hopefully, he makes sure to let Tavares know how good it is to be a Maple Leaf (at the right price of course). They’ll make statues for you John...just saying.
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