Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Islanders' Lamoriello Focused on Future

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Islanders' Lamoriello Focused on Future

Article excerpt

Lou Lamoriello is looking forward to next season, not back on why the Islanders lost franchise player John Tavares to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs via free agency.

"First of all, we did everything I think we possibly could to keep John," the Islanders president said Thursday on SiriusXM NHL Network. "He's been an exceptional player for the Islanders. But he now is with another team, so that's the past."

Lamoriello's 13-minute interview with co-hosts Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson marked his first public comments since Tavares agreed to a seven-year, $77-million deal with the Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Islanders were the only team able to offer Tavares an eight-year deal and they also reportedly offered $11.25 million annually.

But even after losing Tavares, Lamoriello said he does not believe the Islanders are rebuilding under new coach Barry Trotz, who led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season before departing because of a salary impasse.

"What we're doing right now is trying to get knowledge of who we are and learning more about each and every one of the players we have here," said Lamoriello, who was part of the Maple Leafs' rebuilding efforts as their general manager the past three seasons.

"In Toronto, we had to really break it right down and get to the core and see who wanted to be a part of it," Lamoriello said. "There is more talent here at this given time from the original core. So I think that it's different. It's not a breakdown. It's really finding out exactly how high the level is of the players you do have here. There's a couple of exceptional hockey players here in my opinion as far as their talent."

Mathew Barzal, the heir apparent to Tavares as the franchise player and No. 1 center, had 22 goals and 63 assists as he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. Left wing Anders Lee scored 40 goals, and second-year forward Anthony Beauvillier chipped in 21 goals and 15 assists. …

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