Lou Lamoriello is moving quickly in his search for the next Islanders head coach. According to a source, the new boss wants to have a head coach in place by the middle of next week - prior to the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22 and 23.
Although Lamoriello is not operating under a hard deadline, his reasoning is obvious:
- When unrestricted free agent-to-be John Tavares begins listening to other NHL teams, as expected, during the final days of June, Lamoriello would be wise to have a head coach - and therefore, another leading example of the culture he's looking to instill - in place.
- Whether Tavares re-signs or not, the Islanders will be shopping when the free agency doors open on July 1. The most in-demand free agents want to know who their coach will be.
When he fired Doug Weight as part of the purge last week, Lamoriello said he didn't have replacements in mind. But that seems hard to believe, especially coming from the legendarily prepared Lamoriello.
As reported here last week, Scott Stevens remains in the mix for a coaching position. Unlike most GMs, who give their head coaches carte blanche in assembling a staff, Lamoriello at times has imposed his will. For example, whether as coaches or consultants, Lamoriello favorites like strategist Jacques Lemaire and goaltending tutor Jacques Caron have been fixtures on Team Lou.
Despite reports, Barry Trotz appears to be a long shot. For starters, Lamoriello would need to complete a deal with Washington GM Brian McLellan to free up Trotz before his contract expires at the end of this month. From a Capitals perspective, it seems outlandish that owner Ted Leonsis - after finally winning a Stanley Cup - would let a contract negotiation get in the way of retaining his coach.
And if you're Trotz, who has enjoyed stability in Nashville and Washington, when you're at the height of your profession, do you take your next job under Lamoriello, who has had a notoriously sudden hook with a few coaches?
It's true that when it comes to this head coach appointment by Lamoriello, you can expect the unexpected. But expect an announcement prior to the draft. The Islanders are currently the only NHL team in need of a head coach, and Lamoriello has his pick of the field.
Waiting too long, with so much other business to conduct in repairing the Islanders' roster, is unnecessary.