Lamoriello: Maximizing Leafs potential won’t be easy (TSN1050)
Lou Lamoriello joined TSN Overdrive earlier this week, discussing the state of the team at the halfway point before looking ahead to the trade deadline.
On Travis Dermott’s first two NHL games:
I thought he played extremely well. I was really impressed that he wasn’t intimidated by the game coming in. He did play exhibition, but as we know, this is a different level during the regular season. We were all pleased – myself in particular. I thought he did an outstanding job.
On whether the team is feeling good about where it sits in the standings, especially with the state of the Atlantic Division:
You’re never comfortable, nor should you be. If you do, you’re in trouble. There is a lot of hockey left. We just have to focus in on our game and continue to get ready each and every day and allow the end result to take care of itself. But there is a lot of hockey left, and there is parity in the league. Fortunately, we’ve got more home games than road games. We’ve got a pretty tough road schedule, but it all balances out. I always say that it depends on how you’re playing at a given time, not how difficult the schedule is.
On how the team has grown and how things stand compared to a year ago:
Going back to the first year, we went through a little under 50 players to see who exactly wanted to be a part of it. Last year, with the infusion of the young players on a regular basis and what they were able to accomplish at the end of the year and really the playoff experience they had, and then coming into their second year…. Other people got to know who they were.
This is a difficult league. This is not a league where you can take anything for granted – not that our players have, but the success that they had last year certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the teams and the players that we’re competing against. It makes it a little more difficult.
But I think the growth has been the way we would’ve hoped to have seen it be. I think we are a little ahead of where we thought we might be at the beginning of last year. I agree with Mike 100% that the good news is that the ability some of our players have and the potential they have – it’s encouraging. But it has to be actualized. Playing with potential is the easiest way to get in trouble. You have to maximize it and make the most of it.
These players, in my opinion, want to be good. But it’s not going to be easy, either.
On what the team is looking to do at the trade deadline:
I think you always know what [areas] you want to improve in, but it’s easier said than done. First of all, you need a partner to do it. And then whatever the price is, it can’t be something where you’re going to put a hole in your team from an area that you know and you’re potentially acquiring somebody you don’t know, even though you’ve done a job of scouting, or your scouts have been brought in. Everybody is involved as far as where you go, but you still don’t know how a player is going to adjust. You have to be very, very careful.
When you have the parity in the league, it’s even more difficult because there are fewer people looking to make transactions. It’s going to be very interesting, but you’re constantly trying to get better. You just wish sometimes it would be a lot easier to do without giving up too much, but if you talk to the 30 other GMs in the league, you’re going to find the same comment.
On how he feels about trades within the division given the potential sellers in the Atlantic:
I personally don’t look at it any different. I think if you can make your team better and the team that you’re trying to trade with – whether it’s in your division, in your conference, out of your conference, out of your division – shouldn’t matter. You have to realize that if you’re making that transaction, you feel it’s for the better of your team. If a player goes to another team and does very well, so be it. In fact, I’ve always said that any trade that we’ve been able to make over the years that I want to see a player have success so that there is the potential of making a trade the next time with those individuals. You’re doing it for the good of your team, and if it works out for another team, so be it.