Islanders rumoured to be interested in former Canucks GM Mike Gillis

Dec 6 2016, 9:15 pm

The New York Islanders are believed to be in contact with a number of people to oversee their hockey operations, and it appears a pair of former Canucks executives are on their radar.

Mike Gillis and Lawrence Gilman have piqued their interest, according to a pair of reports from two of the most trusted insiders in the game, Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger.

Mike Gillis became Canucks general manager in 2008 and had the title of president added a year later. He oversaw the most successful stretch in franchise history, but was fired when Vancouver missed the playoffs in 2014.

As assistant general manager, Lawrence Gilman was Gillis’ right-hand man for his time with the team. Gilman stayed on for another season after Gillis was let go, but was turfed by the current Canucks administration on July 2, 2015.

Both Gillis and Gilman have been without a team to work for since being let go, but are technically still under contract with the Canucks. As Dreger reports above, the Canucks have not been contacted by the Islanders for permission to speak to either candidate as of yet.

The Islanders are under new ownership, with Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky taking over from Charles Wang in July. Wang was the one who hired Garth Snow, the current president and GM of the team.

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that Malkin and Ledecky have been in discussions with a number of people for a while about finding someone new to oversee their team:

Newsday has learned that Malkin and Ledecky have been meeting since the summer with a number of people in the hockey world, from former team chief officers to power agents to retired players, in hopes of finding a “big name” to step in and oversee the Isles’ operations.

The Isles owners have also reportedly spoken to a couple of former NHL players in Pat LaFontaine and Brad Richards, as well as agent Pat Brisson.

It would be interesting to see if Gillis, in particular, was given another chance to run a team, even in just a president’s role. His teams were incredibly successful on the ice, but his critics were lengthy. S0me fans even held a protest outside of Rogers Arena, demanding his dismissal, near the end of his term as president and GM in Vancouver.

The debate about how much credit Gillis deserves still rages on today. Was the team’s success a function of the work done by previous regimes or does he not get enough credit for shrewd moves to bolster his lineup?

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Looking back on Gillis’ tenure, he can be credited for some smart moves leading up to the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. Christian Ehrhoff, Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, and Raffi Torres were excellent additions to the core of the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, and Roberto Luongo.

The Gillis-Gilman regime was excellent in contract negotiations, getting many players to sign below market value. They also appeared to be ahead of the curve in their approach to analytics, sleep science, and nutrition.

Gillis’ weaknesses stemmed in his drafting record, and some of the moves after the team nearly lifted the Stanley Cup. Oh, and the handling of the goaltending drama.

With more than two and a half years gone since he was let go, it’ll be interesting to see how fans’ views on the controversial former Canucks general manager have changed (if at all).

Let us know in the poll and/or in the comments section!

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