Toronto Maple Leafs: Lou Lamoriello’s fate to be decided after season

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) /

We may finally have the answer as to why there has been varying degrees of speculation regarding Lou Lamoriello’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lou Lamoriello’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs has pretty much been an ongoing story since before this season. As you’d imagine in the hockey-crazed region of Southern Ontario, this has involved several reports regarding what will happen to him.

Among the various storylines; Lamoriello is in the final year of his contract as general manager, he isn’t in the final year of his contract, he will return as GM next season if he wants it, he will return in a different capacity and so on.

As we’ve said before, no one in the media actually knows what’s going to happen. Lamoriello is notorious for being secretive.

As such, the media has been hoping if they throw enough rumors out there, one of them is bound to stick. Then they can claim they knew all along, while conveniently forgetting all the incorrect theories they shared.

Another reason no one knows what will happen, is because no decision has actually been made yet. However, don’t just take our word for it.

The excellent Elliotte Friedman confirmed he spoke to Leafs president Brendan Shanahan on Saturday morning, about Lamoriello’s future with the team. As reported by Sportsnet‘s Emily Sadler, Shanahan said:

"“No decisions have been made. I haven’t spoken to any of the particulars. We are concentrating on the rest of the season and the playoffs. Any decisions about the organization won’t be made until after the season is over.”"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some people don’t believe this, claiming Shanahan has already made his mind up about what to do with Lamoriello. Take, for example, Sportsnet‘s Nick Kypreos:

"“I can appreciate the quote, but I also think it’s rather inconsistent in the way that Brendan Shanahan has led the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last four years,” said Kypreos, on Hockey Night in Canada. “Let’s face it. Since day one, this guy has had a plan, and there’s no signs whatsoever that he’s deviated from that plan.“So maybe, just maybe, what is consistent is that he’s already made his decision, but to respect the people around him, he’s going to keep it quiet until he’s ready to go public with it, as he said, at the end of the season.”"

So is Kypreos right, or is this just an excuse to continue discussing the matter, with more claims about what the decision is? In truth, we can’t say for sure, but we’re inclined to believe Shanahan.

The reason being is the respect the Leafs’ president has for Lamoriello. While the former New Jersey Devils’ GM is in excellent health for his age, the fact remains he is now 75.

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With this in mind, our best guess is that Shanahan will sit down with Lamoriello after the season, to at least ask him what he wants to do. Does he feel good enough to continue as GM for another season (or two), does he want to take on another role and help his successor adapt into the position, or just walk away altogether?

With things going so well right now, why upset the apple cart, especially if Lamoriello feels good enough to carry on as GM. Yes, the Leafs will eventually have to find his replacement, but if there is no need to fix it yet, they continue as you are.

Of course, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. However, as Shanahan himself claims, we genuinely believe him when he says no decision has been made yet.

Next: The Leafs' supporting cast

What does your gut tell you about Lamoriello’s future with the Leafs? Do you believe he will return next season and if so, in what capacity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.