Lou Lamoriello moved quickly to shake up the New York Islanders by firing general manager Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight and naming himself the team’s new GM just two weeks after taking over as president of hockey operations.
Lamoriello announced the moves Tuesday that begin to reshape the organization in his image, two weeks to the day ownership said he’d have “full authority over all hockey matters.” Lamoriello left the Toronto Maple Leafs to run the Islanders and will begin the search for a new coach immediately.
The end of Snow’s tenure seemed inevitable after owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin brought in Lamoriello to oversee the hockey operations department. Snow was previous owner Charles Wang’s hire.
The Islanders missed the playoffs eight times in Snow’s 12 years as general manager, including the past two seasons. He has four years left on the contract he signed when Wang still owned the team.
Future of John Tavares a concern
This latest front-office development comes with the Islanders at a crossroads this summer. The face of the franchise John Tavares can become a free agent July 1. The team took one step toward making Tavares feel comfortable about re-signing by planning a permanent home at Belmont Park after spending the last three seasons playing at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but the direction of the organization still threatens to push the superstar centre to leave.
Tavares, who would be the top free agent on the market, had a good relationship with Weight, who was his teammate for two seasons and assistant coach and GM from 2011 until he replaced Jack Capuano as head coach in January 2017. Weight just finished his first full season as Islanders coach.
In a statement, Lamoriello thanked Snow and Weight and the team said they would remain with the organization. When he first joined the team May 22, the 75-year-old executive said he had no preconceived notions about how the Islanders operate internally but alluded to having opinions about the people already in place.
“I certainly have thoughts like you think I would have,” Lamoriello said at the time. “But rather than express them, I’d rather just keep them to myself and allow the process to take place before making any judgments.”