Scott Stevens is a leading candidate to become an important figure in the revitalization of the Islanders under Lou Lamoriello, a source with knowledge of the situation has told Islanders Point Blank.
Stevens' projected role is uncertain at the moment.
The Hall of Fame defenseman appears best-suited for the position of associate coach, under an experienced NHL head coach such as Dave Tippett. However, it cannot be ruled out that Stevens will become head coach.
The stars are aligned for Stevens and the Islanders. His mentor, Lamoriello -- the man who brought him to New Jersey as a player and later hired him as everything from development coach to assistant coach and co-head coach -- has complete autonomy as president of hockey operations. Lamoriello's respect for Stevens, who won three Stanley Cups with the Devils as a fierce defender, is enormous.
"Scott is a teacher," Lamoriello told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after Stevens was hired as an assistant coach with the Wild in 2016. "He's a student of the game and has an incredible way of explaining things to defensemen, whether they're skilled, physical, defensive, so they understand. He touches all the right points with very few words."
Stevens, his wife Donna, and two of his children live in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area -- making the Islanders a perfect fit. Despite enjoying the work and learning under Bruce Boudreau, Stevens left the job with the Wild after one season, citing a desire to work closer to his family. Since then, he has been a studio analyst on NHL Network, where he has developed a strong reputation among his colleagues there for his knowledge of the game and teamwork.
For an Islanders team that was epically awful in its own end last season, Stevens would be quite the antidote. In his one year in Minnesota, the Wild set team highs for wins and points, and defenders Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, and Jonas Brodin had career years.
This comment by Lamoriello from 2016 says a lot about their mutual drive and commitment, and what Stevens could bring to the Islanders should an agreement be finalized.
"No matter what it is, Scott has a single focus to make the team better."