Lamoriello believes Islanders in better spot than 2015 Leafs


It’s been almost a week since the breakup.

One week since John Tavares ditched the team he had been with for nine long years and instead hooked up with the one he had been crushing on all his life.

For Toronto Maple Leafs fans, who landed the biggest free agent in possibly the history of the NHL, it was a day unlike no other. For New York Islanders fans, who lost their captain and franchise player, it was a level of betrayal that caused some to burn their old No. 91 jerseys.

But for GM Lou Lamoriello, who went from Toronto to New York ostensibly to try to convince Tavares to stay, losing his star centre wasn’t emotional — it just a part of the business.

“John is with another team right now and this is no different than when a trade transpires,” Lamoriello said in a phone interview on Friday night. “The only difference here is we certainly wanted John to stay. It’s obvious we did everything we could to convince him of that. It was his right to make any decision he wanted and we respect that. He was honest and upfront in that process.

“You don’t look back. You don’t complain. You just go forward.”

And so, it’s on to Plan B. And no, the “B” does not stand for “bottoming out.”

While Lamoriello’s first year in Toronto was about “pain” and sacrificing wins for a chance at landing the No. 1 overall Lamoriello said he is not following a similar blueprint with New York. The team is not tanking. The goal is to make the playoffs — not increase the odds of selecting top 2019 draft prospect Jack Hughes.

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