Lou Lamoriello is one of the most influential executives in hockey. With 3 Stanley Cups on his resume and turning around the Toronto Maple Leafs from loveable losers to legit Stanley Cup contenders, this is getting Islander fans hyped up about the offseason. But what about Bridgeport? After two seasons on the edge of the Playoffs, the Sound Tigers haven’t made the postseason since 2016, where they were swept by… you guessed it! The Toronto Marlies. But how will Lou help the Sound Tigers?
Why will he help them?
Lou has a great track record of helping the AHL affiliate get to the next level. The Marlies, who were led by GM Kyle Dubas, have won 3 straight division titles since Lou took over. The cause? Steady leadership and veteran support for young players. The 2016 Marlies had a good group of vets helping the young kids, for example, a guy like Rich Clune, TJ Brennan, who Garth Snow had traded to get Nick Leddy. And Marc Arcobello. The Marlies had these vets to help accompany young players like William Nylander, Brendan Leipsic, and Nikita Soshnikov. This team was explosive, winning a lot, and getting the AHL Regular Season Title. While the Marlies didn’t win the cup, they would 2 years later with almost the same core of veterans, adding steady vets like Vincent LoVerde and Colin Greening, as well as having a new group of young kids who were explosive. And this has also grown to be a huge pipeline of prospects who have gone up to the Leafs.
What should Lou do?
First, Lou should base this model off the 2001-02 Sound Tigers, even though the AHL now has a veteran rule where 6 “vets” are allowed to play in a game. Back then the Sound Tigers were led by Ray Giroux, Dave Roche, and Marco Tuomainen, who all were major pieces in that team. The guys who can fill those roles for Bridgeport are Andre Benoit if Bridgeport re-signs him. Then you re-sign Connor Jones, who is a huge fan favorite here. The ’02 team had young prospects like Raffi Torres, Trent Hunter, and Rick DiPietro, who all had solid NHL careers and on the current roster those guys are Linus Soderstrom, who might be coming over, Devon Toews and Sebastian Aho on defense, and Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang who will look to get up top. Toews is an RFA, but there is a good chance he comes back. Lamoriello knows how to create a great farm system, doing it in New Jersey in the mid-’90s as well, but this time with his son Chris, who is Bridgeport’s General Manager.
Who should Bridgeport go after?
A few players who are steady veterans who Bridgeport Should go after are:
- Chris Bourque
- Chris Bourque is one of the most prolific goal scorers in AHL History, if the Sound Tigers can re-sign his brother and convince Chris to come, he could be deadly.
- Matthew Peca
- While he may not be a veteran, Peca grew to be a huge piece to a top Syracuse offense. Peca would love to come back considering he went to College at Quinnipiac with TSD and the Jones Twins.
- Tyler Wotherspoon
- An AHL All-Star last season in Stockton, Wotherspoon is the brother of current Sound Tigers defenseman Parker and would be a top landing spot for him to come.
- Casey Bailey
- We had the pleasure to interview Casey Bailey, while he is a great leader at a young age, he can also make great passes. He should be a top priority for Bridgeport.
- Kyle Burroughs
- Burroughs is another guy who has become a fan favorite here and has high upside.
In all, these are somethings that the Islanders front office could do to help bolster the Sound Tigers and make them a big Calder Cup contender next season.
Thanks for reading! Check out our interview with Arthur Staple!