The Toronto Maple Leafs are having a summer to remember. They have made numerous huge changes to the organization that will reverberate for years to come. President Brendan Shanahan has begun to put his master plan into action and has assembled a team that is geared and ready for the challenge of making the Leafs a proud and winning organization.
Summer is rarely a quiet time in Leafland. There is always something going on, whether it involves players, management or trades and speculation. The Maple Leafs recently made a huge front office move by hiring Lou Lamoriello as their new general manager. They also have one final hurdle to jump before the end of the summer. That is, of course, Jonathan Bernier and his arbitration hearing. Let’s dive into the details of both these moves.
Lou and White: Lamoriello’s Hiring
This move by the Maple Leafs came out of nowhere and caught both the media, players and fans by surprise. Lamoriello was previously with the New Jersey Devils organization for as long as almost anyone can remember. Under his leadership and tutelage, the Devils won nine division titles, went to the Cup Final five times and won Lord Stanley’s mug on three separate occasions.
Brendan Shanahan knows as well as anyone how Lou Lamoreillo operates. He wouldn't hire him thinking he'd suddenly change.his ways.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) July 23, 2015
Lamoriello compliments an already strong Maple Leafs front office that includes the likes of Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Shanahan. Add in head coach Mike Babcock, and the Blue and White have one of the best front office/coaching regimes in the NHL today.
The former Devils general manager brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the Maple Leafs. He’s got a bevy of contacts and has been around the league long enough to know exactly how things work. An added bonus is that he will be mentoring Dubas and potentially grooming him to take over the general manager reins in the near future.
Lou Lamoriello basically says Kyle Dubas is in position to eventually succeed him as #leafs GM. "If that doesn't happen it's his fault."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 23, 2015
Bernier and Arbitration
The final hurdle the Maple Leafs need to jump this offseason is the arbitration hearing of their goaltender, Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was looking for a multi-year deal, but based on his limited success over the last couple seasons, that outcome was a bit of a stretch. It is also worth noting that he played behind a somewhat porous Leafs team.
If the Leafs and the young goalie can’t agree on a contract before the hearing, it is more than likely that the arbitrator will review the case and set up the Quebec native with a one-year deal. That could work wonders for both sides. It gives the Leafs another year to evaluate Bernier, in whom they see No. 1 potential, and it gives Bernier the opportunity to thrive and impress new head coach Mike Babcock.
It’s never a dull moment in the ever-changing hockey landscape of Toronto. The season is only a couple of months away and with it the moves, speculation and overall excitement. This season has a different feel to it and with the continued moves by Shanahan and company, fans better get used to a new and improved organization.