Leafs: What does the future hold for Lou Lamoriello?

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Lou Lamoriello attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Lou Lamoriello attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As Lou Lamoriello enters the final season of his three-year contract with the Leafs, we consider the factors which will affect his position as General Manager.

As reported by Sportsnet‘s Chris Johnston on Thursday, Lou Lamoriello has entered training camp without a contract extension. For many Leafs fans this is a non-story, created by the circus that is the Toronto sports media.

However, while there is more than enough justification for this sentiment, it doesn’t change the fact Lamoriello is now in the final season of his three-year deal as General Manager. Whether Leafs fans like reading about it or not, his future will have to be resolved sooner than later.

Not that the Hockey Hall of Famer is willing to discuss it. Consider his amusing response to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and his not so subtle attempt to ask about his future plans:

"“I’ve known Pierre for as long as I’ve known anyone in this room. He keep’s trying and trying and trying. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit for it. Next question!”"

Perhaps the best aspect of the exchange, was the fact Lamoriello has clearly mellowed over the years. And really, his age is where we have to start when considering what he plans to do.

Lamoriello will turn 75 next month and is the NHL’s oldest GM by more than six years. Cue another amusing response from him, as reported by Johnston:

"“As far as the future, I’ve got enough problems just getting up in the morning.”"

Self-deprecation aside, Lamoriello’s age is not really an issue. Leafs president Brendan Shanahan just this week raved about the GM’s energy levels after 30 years in a position, which is often renowned for how draining it can be.

Again though, you still have to wonder how much longer the Johnston, Rhode Island native can, or indeed wants to do the job? Another factor which will likely play a part, are the Leafs’ intentions for who will take over.

The natural assumption is that Kyle Dubas or Mark Hunter will eventually replace Lamoriello. Both currently serve as assistant GM’s, with Dubas the slight favourite for the main job.

However, the concern is that if Lamoriello doesn’t step aside soon, one or both of his potential candidates could leave Toronto, to find the promotion they desire. This would understandably be a blow for the Leafs, with each cregarded as excellent hockey minds, with a bright future in the game.

More from Toronto Maple Leafs

In reality though, there is probably nothing for anyone to worry about. When you consider how well run the Leafs franchise is these days, do you really believe they haven’t considered the future or come up with a suitable succession plan?

While Dubas and Hunter can’t wait around forever, both men are enjoying the invaluable tutelage they are receiving under Lamoriello. It is in their best interest to take as much as possible from him, while they still have the opportunity.

At this point, our best guess is the former New Jersey Devils GM will sign a contract extension for one or two years at the most, before moving to another position within the organisation. With extensions coming up for Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, this would certainly be the smartest move to make.

Further, you should assume Dubas and Hunter have been given some idea of Shanahan’s plan for the future. Just don’t expect anyone within the front office to discuss it publicly, a right which has been earned with what they’ve achieved recently.

Next: Another comparable for William Nylander

What’s your take on the job Lamoriello has done in Toronto? Further, what would you do with him following this season, if you were the Leafs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.