Lou Lamoriello has consolidated power with the New York Islanders, making two considerable moves on Tuesday that will have lasting consequences – to say the least.
Lamoriello fired head coach Doug Weight and general manager Garth Snow yesterday. He subsequently named himself the new general manager and now has “full authority over all hockey matters” on Long Island.
“It’s my opinion that at this point there’s a culture change that’s needed and there’s new voices needed in different areas and because of that, the changes (were) made,” Lamoriello said. “There’s been a lot of changes for different reasons, and right now is just trying to stabilize anything, start off with a fresh face, start off with a fresh mind, a fresh coach and just go forward.”
The search for a new head coach in New York will begin immediately, he confirmed.
The ousting of Snow as general manager has been a long time coming, according to multiple sources. Owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have been eager to transform Long Island’s fortunes and they brought Lamoriello aboard to transform the entire franchise.
Snow was a hire of previous owner Charles Wang and his history was not exactly glamorous. The Islanders missed the post-season eight of his 12 seasons and he’s been at the forefront of several questionable contracts. Snow had four years remaining on his contract.
The Islanders have their work cut out for them in the off-season, with John Tavares at the top of the list. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and this move may put some pressure on the situation to resolve itself sooner, one way or another.
Tavares was close with former coach Weight, who put in just one full season as bench boss before he was canned. Tavares played hockey with Weight for two seasons before the latter became assistant coach and general manager. Weight then replaced Jack Capuano as bench boss in January of 2017.
Weight and Snow are expected to remain with the organization in some capacity, although that’s not known at this point and time.
And with Lamoriello fully at the helm of a hockey club once more, many are wondering if now could be the time for the Islanders to return to some semblance of glory. It’s a big change from his digs in Toronto, where he reported to Brendan Shanahan and didn’t have a say in hiring his own assistants.
In New York, Lamoriello has a chance to embolden himself and take some serious steps in the right direction. First up, the club requires stability. That means the hiring of a new coach takes on special importance. And with some intriguing names on the market, like Alain Vigneault, the next step should be an interesting one.