Thursday’s roundup: Shanahan expects 'incredible boost' from Lamoriello
Toronto — Brendan Shanahan’s new-school Toronto Maple Leafs front office built on his philosophy of differing viewpoints has a new voice, and this one comes with a lot of NHL experience.
Shanahan, who’s a year into his duties as team president, believes new general manager Lou Lamoriello “will fit in very, very well and be an incredible boost” to what the Leafs look to accomplish.
Shanahan went looking for experience to join Kyle Dubas, Mark Hunter and Brandon Pridham in management, and found it in Lamoriello, who’ll also work with coach Mike Babcock, who left the Detroit Red Wings to sign for eight years and $50 million and has committed to a long-range plan for success.
“If I could map out or draw out a description of the kind of person that we wanted, it would be Lou,” Shanahan told a news conference Thursday. “I’ve always thought that there are certain advantages to hiring people on their way up that are looking to prove themselves and have that sort of hunger and energy to make a name for themselves. But I do think that we were lacking in some experience.”
In charge of the New Jersey Devils since 1987, the 72-year-old Lamoriello was the longest-serving GM in NHL history. Along the way, his teams won the Stanley Cup three times, a pedigree he brings to the Leafs, who are trying to build a championship contender.
Lamoriello becomes the old-school GM working under the Hall of Fame player and overseeing assistants Hunter, Dubas and Pridham, also NHL management rookies.
“Brendan’s hired some very good people kind of a little bit on an entry level, at the levels they are coming into the league,” said Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who made a similar transition last year leaving the Carolina Hurricanes. “To add an experienced guy like Lou, I think it was very smart on the Leafs’ part, and it’ll be a good fit.”
Shanahan is still setting the vision, but now it’s Lamoriello’s job to execute it. Lamoriello had a relationship with the Leafs’ president dating to 1987, when he drafted Shanahan, who also played for Babcock in Detroit.
Ultimately Shanahan convinced one of his mentors to sign on in Toronto and was willing to pay the compensation price of a third-round pick to hire him.
The Coyotes and the city of Glendale, Ariz., agreed to amend an existing lease agreement, though the deal may only be a temporary fix in the team’s ongoing saga to remain in the desert. The amended deal, which will be voted on by city council today, calls for the original 15-year, $225 million agreement to be cut to two years, expiring on June 30, 2017.
It also would trim the management fee the city pays annually to the Coyotes from $15 million to $6.5 million and shift all hockey-related revenue to the team instead of Glendale, which would generate approximately $6 million for the Coyotes. A five-year out clause if the team lost more than $50 million that was part of the original agreement also has been removed.
... The Sabres have re-signed forward Jerry D’Amigo to a one-year contract.
The deal is structured so that D’Amigo can play at either the NHL or minor-league level, the Sabres announced Thursday. The team had retained the player’s rights by tendering him a qualifying offer last month.
... The Coyotes signed forward Michael Bunting to a three-year, entry-level contract. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed Thursday.