July 24, 2015

Michael Clifford


I don't suppose there is another place to start than with the monster news of Thursday that the New Jersey Devils would lose long-time president/general manager/coach Lou Lamoriello to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lamoriello signed on with the Leafs to be their new general manager, a position that had been vacant since the firing of Dave Nonis after the season was over.

I wrote a little bit about this on the site, and that can be read here. There was also a, let's say, vigorous debate in the Forums on this topic. I encourage the readers to go to either for more information or discussion on this move.

The one quote that scared me was from Jonas Siegel of TSN, who quoted Lamoriello as saying that the new GM will have full autonomy. Presumably, he means full autonomy over the roster. Lamoriello would go on to say that he would still report to team president Brendan Shanahan, but that's not a surprise. Every organization has a hierarchy, and every general manager reports to the president.

Lamoriello is without a doubt one of the most experience minds in the game. He also had a lot of success with the Devils. Almost all of that success came before the salary cap era, though. Since the 2004-2005 lockout, the Devils made it past the second round of the playoffs once, and that was their Cup Final run in 2012. It should be noted that team owed a large part of its success to Ilya Kovalchuk, a player whose contract was deemed to be cap circumvention, and the NHL fined the Devils $3-million, a first round pick and a third round pick (some of those were eventually slackened). The point remains that he built a consistently average, or slightly above-average team, for a decade.