Bobby Orr of the Orr Hockey Group discusses Auston Matthews’ next contract, Lou Lamoriello discusses life after John Tavares on the Island, and more in the links.
Lou Lamoriello on Tavares, bringing Komarov & Martin to New York (TSN1050)
Lamoriello joined Overdrive a few days ago to discuss life after John Tavares on the Island and the addition of former Leafs Leo Komarov and Matt Martin.
On how he found out about Tavares’ final decision:
John called himself. We wished him the best, and I mean that. He had every right to make the decision that was best for him in his mind. He earned the right of free agency. That is what is the CBA brings. Once that decision is made, you go forward. That’s exactly what the New York Islanders are doing. That’s the way we’re approaching it. He is a player with another team, so we shouldn’t really even be talking about him. I wish John all the best, except when he plays against the Islanders.
On the impact of the loss of Tavares on the lineup:
That’s an unknown. Whenever you are dealing with a player of the calibre of this player… if you have an injury during the year, how much of a blow is it? How much of a blow is it if it’s a year-long injury? Those are all unknowns. What it does do is gives the opportunity to other players who have the ability to raise their game. You don’t know how they are going to react when they are given more ice time and more responsibilities. They are also coming in under a totally new coaching system and style. I think that there are a lot of positives to look forward to because of how players are going to react, especially when they have God-given ability and they want to be successful. The action and interaction they’ve had with myself and Barry over the last week or so since this has happened couldn’t be better. They are excited to get going and they are excited about the season, and I’m sure excited about more opportunities. Those who maybe didn’t fare well feel there is a new coaching and management staff in, so it’s a new lease on life. Those who did are looking for more of what they were receiving, so it’s a positive time. No one likes to lose a player like this, but there is nothing you can dwell on. It’s in the past.
On what the Islanders pitched to Tavares:
I spent quite a bit of time with him. I think if you’re selling anything right now with the Islanders, it’s the ownership and Scott Malkin, specifically, who has made a commitment financially to go out and build a building that will be a state of the art building. It is a definite go. This past year, we’ve built a complex – a practice facility – where there are two pads. Certainly, I’ve seen it and we’ve had the prospect camp there. It is as good as any in the NHL. His commitment to success is there. And we have a number of core players who offensively have never had a problem scoring. You can’t teach that. Defensively is where the problems where, and Barry and his staff are going to take care of that. There is a lot of brightness in it. I thought we had an outstanding draft with some top young players that are not far away. You look at that and you have to judge, and then you go forward.
On his earlier statement about Tavares’ individual – not team – success in New York:
The team has not had success. Any success that you have is individual. Teams win championships, not individual players. It wasn’t any backhanded snide. He had individual success. He achieved. He made All-Star teams, and rightly so. But the team has not won.
On the decision to bring in former Leafs Matt Martin and Leo Komarov:
First of all, after being there and interviewing a lot of players, certainly the relationship I had and still have with Garth Snow and Doug Weight that was there… in my opinion, there is somewhat of a culture change that has to take place. These two players, who were available, to me, while they were in Toronto, exemplified the type of culture as far as how they embraced team members, how they are with them away from the rink, how they act when they aren’t in the lineup or when they had an injury, and how they rooted for the people around them and the type of atmosphere they create with their personality… To me, they were two individuals where we didn’t have to expend assets to add. We had plenty of cap room to make these decisions at this point. To me, they’ll be invaluable with all of the intangibles as well as the role they will play in the lineup as far as how they’ll be used. They’ll never cheat you. They’ll never leave anything but what they’ve got out on the ice with how they protect their teammates and how they get into the faces of their opponents. To me, I feel extremely good about them and how they will help establish what we’re trying to build here on the Island.
Orr: Reports of rift are ‘silly, wrong and not true’ (TSN)
Bobby Orr of the Orr Hockey Group talks about his agency’s client Auston Matthews’ contract situation and the addition of Tavares to the Leafs lineup.
On progress on a contract:
You’re not going to read much about it. Our guys will be trying to get it done and hopefully we will. But you’re not going to be reading something about it every day. You can guess all you want. When it happens, it will be announced. We’re not having a big thing about it. The job is to get the job done, make the Leafs happy, make Auston happy, and let’s go. That is what it is about.
On whether Matthews might want to wait a year if it means more money:
I don’t think it’s about the money. The kid is going to be a heck of a player. It’s like John Tavares in free agency. It’s nothing about money. It’s where he wanted to play. He wants to play in Toronto. If it doesn’t happen this year before the season starts, he still has a year left and he’ll fulfil his contract and we’ll see what happens after that. Hopefully, they will get it done. He likes Toronto and he wants to stay in Toronto. I’m sure they’ll get it done.
On how Matthews and Tavares are going to gel:
John is a great hockey player. Auston is a very good hockey player. They’re going to be great teammates. I’ve spoken to Auston. He’s thrilled. He is thrilled John is coming. His goal is to be on a Stanley Cup team. Obviously, having John on the team is going to help. All of this stuff about ice time… show me a player that doesn’t want more ice time. The coach? Not getting along with the coach? I know a lot of players that may not be fond of their coach. That’s a bunch of bull. Auston is thrilled… This bull about being upset about this or that, the captaincy — that’s so wrong. Shouldn’t be happening. They’re a good team. They’re going to be a very good team. John puts them closer to their goal and that is what Auston is concerned about.
On whether there would be any tension about who gets the C:
No. Whatever the Leafs do, I know Auston… It’s the way it is. There are a lot of pretty good players in the league who were never captains. As a matter of fact, I was on the internet the other day looking and there were a lot of very good players that never wore the C. You are a leader on the ice. Auston, with or without a C or an A, or John, with or without a C or an A, they are going to lead on the ice. That’s what it is all about. This thing about a rift is so silly. It is wrong and not true.
Leafs Notebook: Matchups, 11/7, Can More Offense Help the Defense? (MLHS)
Tavares will have the benefit of being surrounded by stars in Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander, which should help him maintain his scoring, at least, when he passes 30. Interestingly, he’s one of the few superstars that didn’t totally dominate the league early in his career – he steadily improved as time went on.
Tavares, Bozak & non-elite players that put up elite numbers (The Athletic)
Writes Tyler Dellow: “That said, it seems safe to assume that there’s a chasm between Bozak and Tavares, despite the similar GF/60 numbers. It’s just a question of whether Toronto decides to inflate the numbers of the many next year or permit the few to put up video game numbers. That question will be one of the most intriguing early-season stories in Toronto.”
Maple Leafs promote Lilley to director of amateur scouting (Toronto Sun)
Lilley had been the Leafs’ director of United States scouting. It’s probable that Lilley will be given the task of leading the club at the draft table in 2019 and beyond, essentially taking over the role that had been Mark Hunter’s until this spring.