This management group has been full of surprises, but I think they might have just dropped the biggest one on us yet. Lou Lamoriello has stepped down as the Devils’ president after nearly three decades and joined the Maple Leafs as their new general manager. [He’d recently moved on from the GM chair in Jersey to make way for Ray Shero]
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 23, 2015
It’s difficult to process this right now because it’s so out of left field – actually, scratch that, out of the stadium entirely. Lamoriello has been with New Jersey in a president and general manager capacity since 1987. Half the writers on this site weren’t even born then.
We’ll obviously have much more on this news as the day unfolds, but right now my first thought is that Shanahan and Lamoriello must have a good relationship. Shanahan started and finished his career in New Jersey, so no doubt he and Lamoriello are well-known to each other. Also with the former’s history as a league official with the Department of Player Safety and Lamoriello being essentially the Godfather of the NHL general manager world, there’s another link. Secondly, this likely falls into a plan for the Leafs to groom Kyle Dubas to inherit the full-time gig in a couple years, since at 72-years-old, Lamoriello probably isn’t their longterm guy.
Something else to note is that this is another instance where the Leafs broke the news themselves and not one reporter had a beat on it. For a move of this magnitude, that seems almost unheard of.
Perhaps the best thing about Lamoriello’s hire is the Leafs now basically have a license to do whatever they want: circumvent the cap, nudge players into retirement, give up draft picks and take them back, whatever. We are truly blessed.