Coach Lane Lambert likely back for Year 2 with Islanders

Ryan Pulock was the most candid appraisal of manager Lane Lambert’s first season with the Islanders.

“I think it’s a tough position for anyone,” Pullock, an eight-season veteran with the Islanders, said on the day of the team’s disbandment. “My first year as head coach had a lot of ups and downs and a learning curve. I had to make various changes in different areas, styles, etc.

“I think it’s something like [that] First year as head coach. There will be good times and bad times, but I think he worked through it and helped us out. ”

It’s been almost a month since the Islanders’ season ended, but the lack of any announcements regarding the departures of Lambert and general manager Lou Lamoriello suggests that both are likely to return next season. ing. Making changes while the rest of the league’s hiring cycle is already well underway would be imprudent, if not implausible.

Lambert’s inaugural NHL coaching season was a mixed bag that justified another year’s extension, finishing 41-31-9 before the Islanders lost to the Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. Enthusiasm was not sufficiently aroused. about it.

New York Islanders Head Coach Lane Lambert
NHLI (via Getty Images)

There are many issues that need to be addressed.

  • Bo Horvat’s lack of productivity. He scored seven goals in 30 games and had a quiet postseason after being acquired by the Islanders from the Canucks at the end of January.
  • Noah Dobson’s confidence and productivity stalled after the 2021-22 break.
  • Possibly the biggest problem for the Islanders for most of the season was their terrible power play. This power play is the responsibility of assistant coach John McClane and may ultimately cause a change in the assistant coach staff, but the ultimate responsibility still rests with Lambert.

Lambert also hurt veteran Josh Bailey in his sixth game of the season — playing on the road rather than at home against the Rangers to secure 1,000 appearances for the Islander is a big deal. It’s safe to say it was an unforced error. Perhaps alienating acting captain Bailey and risking losing spots in the opening weeks of the season.

“It speaks to what happened in the last four or five games of the year before our 1,000th game, which led to the end of the season,” said Bailey, who sat in the press box for all six playoff games on farewell day. told to “Now I think it makes a lot more sense.”

On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with how the Islanders have played in the second half of the season. They advanced to the playoffs with a 17-9-4 record after the All-Star break, mostly without the injured Matthew Balzal. Lambert’s adaptability had a lot to do with it.

After Lambert preached early in the season to play an aggressive, more open game, the Islanders began playing the same kind of defensive game that had been successful under manager Barry Trotts.

Lambert takes credit for fixing what went wrong and making the on-the-spot change that helped the Islanders return to the postseason despite missing one of their best players, Varzal. Honored.

Lambert has also done an excellent job developing players like Hudson Fashing and Sebastian Ajo (the two players who made daily contributions for the first time this season) and has been key to the Islanders since their arrival. He also succeeded in incorporating Alexander Romanov and Pierre Enval into the lineup. He came on a deal.

Penalty kills were also at a high rate throughout the year, good enough to nearly eliminate the powerplay issue.

Perhaps that will give Lambert another season.

“I thought Lane did a phenomenal job,” said captain Anders Lee. “Throughout the season we went through different swings and had a lot to deal with. He got us to a place where we could play better hockey towards the end. [the playoffs] And gave us a chance. ”

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