USATSI_8499704_154158418_lowresThe Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the hiring of Lou Lamoriello as their new general manager. He first had to resign as the president of the New Jersey Devils to take the post.

Lamoriello becomes the 16th general manager in Maple Leafs franchise history and he’ll be reunited with president Brendan Shanahan, who was drafted by the Devils in 1987 – the same year the GM took over in New Jersey.

Lamoriello is the longest-serving general manager in the National Hockey League, with 28 years of service in New Jersey to show for himself thus far.

His Devils made it to the playoffs 21 times, took home nine division titles, made it to the Stanley Cup Final five times, and took home the Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003).

Lamoriello was hired by the Devils in April of 1987, coming off his tenure as a Providence College athletic director. By April of 1988, New Jersey made the playoffs for the first time since they moved to the Garden State in 1982.

Other highlights include his drafting of players like Scott Niedermayer and Martin Brodeur. After the St. Louis Blues signed Shanahan as a free agent in September of 1991, Lamoriello was able to acquire defenceman Scott Stevens as compensation.

“Lou Lamoriello created and defined what it meant to be a New Jersey Devil,” Devils co-owner Josh Harris said. “His brilliance in shaping this franchise into one of the most storied and celebrated organizations in sport will make him a New Jersey Devil for life. He represented this organization, our current and former players, the state of New Jersey, and the greatest fans in the National Hockey League in a manner that exemplified character, class and dignity.”

This is a huge deal for the Maple Leafs. What’s possibly more remarkable is that nobody really saw this coming. The Shanahan connection makes sense, but the hiring of the 72-year-old as the new general manager is really out of the blue.

But what can you say about the Devils or what’s left of them? Losing Lamoriello’s presence is like losing a limb. Harris’ statement doesn’t contain one overstatement, as Lamoriello really did define New Jersey hockey for better or for worse.

And now he’ll get to work on a Toronto team that requires more than a few adjustments, but he’s certainly the man for the job. Assistant general manager Kyle Dubas will learn a lot along the way, too, which is one of the more important benefits of the Lamoriello hire. Considering the pure talent in the front office, the path is set for a bright future.

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