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5/25/18 12:50 PM
"I was offered a position that gave me total authority, which was music to my ears" said one of the great hockey executives of all time--Lou Lamoriello--in an interview shorty after taking over the New York Islanders entire hockey operations.
Lou will do a great job in that role, I have little doubt. He is fundamentally suited for executive management decision making.
And as Scotty Bowman once said when reminded that Lou was a man known to impose many rules "Yeah, and I like some of those rules".
(I like his no facial hair policy, for one--my comment, not Scotty's, though I think Bowman would agree with me.)
But as strictly a GM, which was the position Lou was serving during the last part of his tenure in New Jersey and his three years in Toronto, his record was questionable.
One philosophy Lou had was the one-third player age divider, where he tried to compose his roster with one third young, affordable players, one-third of players in their middle years, and one third veteran players who provided experience and leadership. This philosophy worked well for Lou years ago, but I don't believe it works as well in today's NHL game.
I have heard no one say this, but I believe that latter part about the one-third older players--which was primarily missing from the Maple Leafs' young roster when Lou took over, was filled in by Lou with the free agent acquisitions of 36 year old defenseman Ron Hainsey and 38 year old forward Patrick Marleau, who was given a three year contract to agree to join the Leafs.
If my speculation about Lamoriello being the man solely responsible for making these acquisitions is correct, it can be interpreted as being consistent with his stated team building philosophy and also consistent with a "win it all now" effort of a 75 year old executive who wanted his team to win the Stanley Cup during the brief window before his young heir apparent took over.
His 32 year old assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas--in my speculation--was probably not in favor of those veteran player acquisitions. Dubas probably figured the data he looked at did not support those moves. The NHL average age per team in 2018 is 27.1 years and the league is getting younger and faster. And the salaries commanded by Hainsey and Marleau pushed the Leafs closer to the cap, restricting some future maneuverability, which is critical in today's NHL.
I further speculate that Toronto team President Brendan Shanahan agreed with most of what Dubas had to say about personnel decisions. Shanahan had previously denied Dubas permission to speak to a Colorado team that wanted him in their front office, so it was just a matter of time before he would be promoted from within, and the time was now, as Kyle Dubas was recently named General Manager of the Leafs, taking over for a deposed Lamoriello.
I like the judgments made by Brendan Shanahan, who favored the analytical, non-player Dubas over his fellow pugilistic goal scoring coeval Mark Hunter for the GM post.
Hunter left the organization after the promotion of Dubas to the position that Mark thought he deserved. Hunter--it is speculated--did not want to work under Kyle Dubas.
So I say good for Toronto getting Kyle Dubas to make the key decisions for their hockey personnel and good for the Islanders getting some stability and reliability in their organization from Lou Lamoriello, who ironically takes over a franchise that started the tradition of the "playoff beard", something that could not exist under Lou's directive.
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