Toronto Maple Leafs: Don’t Romanticize the Failures of Lou Lamoriello

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs attend the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs attend the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a young, intelligent general manager in Kyle Dubas.

So far, in his time on the job, Dubas has signed the best unrestricted free-agent in NHL history, made some absolutely fantastic draft choices, made a reputation of finding hidden European gems and made a few excellent trades for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yes, the team has failed to take the next step, but as a GM all you can do is put your team in a position to win.  The Leafs – in Dubas’ first year – took the Bruins to game seven, despite a suspension to Nazem Kadri.  The Bruins, who would go all the way to the final, are one of the NHL’s best teams, and a half decade ahead of the Leafs in terms of building and experience.

The Columbus loss may still be fresh, and thus emotional, but if you can’t understand how you should never blame a team for shooting 1.9% then you either have never considered it, or aren’t even trying.

The Blue Jackets didn’t do anything to limit the Leafs to such a low shooting percentage – such an accomplishment cannot even be hoped for  by even perfect defense.   It is just one of those things.  An occurrence that probably no member of the current Leafs team will ever again experience.

1.9%   is 3 x worse than the league’s 31st ranked team by shooting percentage.  The probability of that occurring is basically zero, so blaming anyone for that loss is a little like being mad at your friend for blowing off dinner even though he was struck by lightning on the way.

Kyle >>>> Lou

The Leafs are a young team, built around a 22 year old, who have two potential super-star prospects and a very good farm system.  They have zero bad long term contracts, and promise to be a contender for the next decade or so.  The team literally could not be in a better, or stronger, position.

Whatever you may think of them right now, the future is bright.

The Leafs failed for 50 years following the same exact blueprint, and 29 teams fail every season following the same exact blue print.  So why does the one guy doing something different get such a short leash (according to some fans) when the results are not instant?

And don’t forget how bad Lou Lamoriello was.

He signed Nikita Zaitsev.  The Leafs had to take Cody Ceci to get out of that one.  It also cost Connor Brown.

Lamoriello is the one who refused to negotiate with Marner and Matthews and Nylander when their contracts could have gotten done cheaper.  He is the one who caused the rift with Marner by giving bonuses to Matthews.

Lamoriello is the one who signed Patrick Marleau.  He is the one who went in to the playoffs with Hainsey and Zaitsev in his top four.  And Lamoriello is the reason the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have a first round pick. 

Also, his ancient policy about facial hair and long hair was an embarrassment.  

And you want this guy back?  Have you even looked at what he has done on the Island?  Call it Karma for stealing Tavares, or call it luck, but the Islanders are a team that wins because they play god-awful boring trap hockey and rely on their goalie.

The Islanders are successful, but hockey is a game of bounces. I think we can agree that all 16 teams still playing do not have a better roster, or a brighter future than the Leafs.  On some level, everyone understands that there is a randomness to the game.

Don’t forget, while much farther along in their rebuild, the Lightning missed the playoffs.  They followed that up with the best NHL season in a quarter century.  Then they too lost to Columbus.  No one thinks they should tear it down or fire their GM. (Mistakenly listed as Steve Yzerman, but in actuality their GM is Julian BriseBois.

As for Lamoriello, its sort of ironic that the people who refuse to believe that Dubas and Pridham might have some insight into the NHL’s salary cap want a return to Lamoriello because his cap management has been horrible in New York.

Yes, please bring back the guy who signed Brock Nelson, Anderse Lee, Jordan Eberle, Leo Komarov, and Josh Baily to ridiculous contracts.  Don’t forget that he hilariously traded for Matt Martin as well.

I realize the short term success of Lou on the Island makes this comparison a bit wonky, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed a core of young superstars and are prepared to compete for a decade with maximum cap flexibility.

The Islanders have been lucky where the Leafs have been unlucky, but no sane person would look at the two rosters and choose New York’s, and that is today.

The fact is Lou Lamoriello was once a decent GM, but those days are long past.  He was terrible as the Leafs GM and even worse with the Islanders.

In fact, basically all of the Leafs biggest problems are his fault – no first round pick,  contracts for stars too high, relationship with Marner strained, Mike Babcock and his toxicity, I could go on.

The 3 Worst Lamoriello Moves. dark. Next

The Toronto Maple Leafs may not have had any quick success, but they are building something special, and I would definitely rather have the 35 year old with innovative ideas than a guy whose best days occurred while people were still concerned about Y2K.