TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello will not return to the role next season.
Team President Brendan Shanahan said Monday he was sticking to a plan that called for the 75-year-old Lamoriello to serve as GM for three years and then transition to senior adviser for four years.
Shanahan said he doesn’t have a timeline for filling the GM position.
“I haven’t begun that process and that’s why nobody has been named,” Shanahan said. “My focus was on Lou and making a decision, taking a little bit of time right after the season ended to really reflect on that. So I’m just handling one thing at a time.”
The Maple Leafs set franchise records for points (105) and wins (49) in the regular season, but were eliminated in seven games by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs last week. Coach Mike Babcock, Shanahan and the rest of the team expected more this year after getting back to the postseason a year ago.
Auston Matthews found his scoring touch amid injury woes and goalie Frederik Andersen set a franchise record for wins in a season with 38. Among the issues for the new GM: Veteran forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov are among the players set to hit unrestricted free agency, and Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander are due big raises in the not-too-distant future.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lou for his tireless work over the last three years as general manager,” Shanahan said. “His leadership in helping establish a cultural foundation, as well as his invaluable mentorship to everyone in this organization, has been instrumental in our development.”
Lamoriello won the Stanley Cup three times as GM of the New Jersey Devils. Lamoriello spent 27 seasons as Devils GM before stepping down in May 2015 and joining the Maple Leafs in their rebuilding effort. Now he will take on a new role for Toronto.
“It’s an unknown,” Lamoriello said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. So like everything else in life, you learn as you go and make the best of it.”
The Hockey Hall of Famer also served as GM of the American team that won the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. He returned to that post with USA Hockey for the 1998 Nagano Olympics.