Isles looking at Laviolette

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

The New York Islanders might try to lure Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette back to his first NHL post with a dual front office role.

Reports in Long Island on the weekend said Isles' owner Charles Wang will look at making Laviolette a coach and director player of personnel, if the 'Canes do not retain the latter before his contract expires June 30. Wang had a good relationship with Laviolette when he ran the Isles' bench from 2001-03 and despite creating one of the first general manager openings this year when Mike Milbury stepped aside in January, Wang watched three other GM candidates go elsewhere.

But Laviolette could win coach of the year and getting the 'Canes to the final would cement his status in Carolina.

Originally on the Isles' list of candidates were Dean Lombardi, who signed in Los Angeles, Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Peter Chiarelli (Boston). Other possible candidates on the Island are two of the Isles' former Atlantic Division foes, ex-Rangers' GM Neil Smith and former Pens boss Craig Patrick.

TIME'S UP

The Maple Leafs and other NHL teams have until Thursday to send bona fide contract offers to their 2005 junior hockey draft picks to retain rights for another season or risk having them go back in this year's draft pool.

General manager John Ferguson said he already had retained the rights to last year's No. 1 pick, Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask, and it's likely he wouldn't be losing Brampton Battalion defenceman Phil Oreskovic.

Thursday also is the deadline to sign all 2004 picks or have them re-enter the draft, but Toronto already has its principal 2004 selections -- goaltender Justin Pogge and forward Robbie Earlunder -- under contract.

LOOSE LEAFS

Ferguson is leaning towards holding 2006 training camp at Ricoh Coliseum as the club did last year ... The Leafs are close to releasing a full 2006-07 exhibition schedule, likely to include eight or nine games against geographical rivals such as Ottawa, Buffalo, Detroit and Montreal. They already have a game scheduled for Sept. 24 in Halifax, N.S., against the Senators.


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