Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello won’t rush coaching search

Lou Lamoriello joins Prime Time Sports to discuss the ideal characteristics of the New York Islanders next head coach, and how the team will play a 'high-tempo' style.

There’s plenty of work to be done in Long Island. Just don’t call it a rebuild.

“I’m pleased with what is here,” New York Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said of his new team’s roster during an interview on Prime Time Sports on Wednesday. “It is different that when I did go to Toronto, without question.”

Fresh off a three-year stint transforming the Maple Leafs into a playoff team, the longtime NHL executive took over as the Islanders’ president of hockey operations last month and relieved GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties on Tuesday.

While he needed only to look in the mirror to find Snow’s replacement, bringing in a new bench boss will likely take some time — of which Lamoriello’s got plenty.

“I’ve always said this: Not every team is for every coach, not every coach is for every team. It depends upon personnel and also the style you want. So I think all of that is incumbent to who the coach should be,” Lamoriello said after confirming that he’s already penned a list of candidates.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello on joining a new organization
June 06 2018

First on the agenda? Getting to know his team.

“I think I’m going through that right now. I’m certainly listening to as many people within the hockey community, in the organization on some of the background of different situations,” Lamoriello explained, also adding that his new coach won’t necessarily need to come equipped with prior NHL head coaching experience. “You know the team from afar, but you don’t know the integral parts of it and different idiosyncrasies. But I’m pleased with the talent that is there.”

When asked why the decision was made to fire Weight after just one season, Lamoriello indicated that would remain between the two of them. He also confirmed that both Weight and Snow will remain with the organization.

“That’s on my plate to make that decision. And I have my reasons why, and the interaction that I’ve had with Doug, he knows why — and that’s the most important thing for me,” Lamoriello said. “I’m sure you’re aware, I had Doug in the 1996 World Cup and in the Olympics, I know him extremely well. He’s a quality individual, a good hockey man, but right now in my opinion there needed to be a change.”

Here are a few other takeaways from Lamoriello’s conversation on Wednesday:

He’s not opposed to parting with his picks.
Thanks to Snow’s Travis Hamonic trade last summer, the Islanders have two first-round picks — their own No. 11 overall plus Calgary’s No. 12. Would he consider moving those picks?

“Yes,” said Lamoriello. “We did it in Toronto a couple years ago, we gave two picks — our last first and a high second — for Freddie Andersen.”

“Building through the draft is still the fundamental success,” Lamoriello added. “Now what you do is complement that in any way you can.”

No news on Tavares.
No interview with Lamoriello would be complete without an update on John Tavares — or at least an attempt to get one. Lamoriello, however, would not budge on talking about whether he’ll be able to sign his captain before July 1.

“Next question,” he said.

He’s a big fan of what Vegas GM George McPhee has done with the Golden Knights.
“Incredible,” he said of McPhee’s expansion draft strategy. “One of the greatest managing jobs in all of sports, in my opinion.”

The Islanders’ arena plans are going “full steam ahead.”
Lamoriello believes there’s plenty of be excited about when it comes to the Islanders’ new area development at Belmont Park, which got the go-ahead back in December when the team won its bid.

“It’s full steam ahead, I think. I’ve seen renderings of it, it’s just an incredible building,” he said. “Our ownership, Scott Malkin, has this mind of what he wants this to be, and the type of building. It’s going to be something. It’s really special and unique.”


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