The New York Islanders have found their man.
Days after making the shocking decision to relieve Barry Trotz of his duties as head coach, the Islanders announced on Monday that they have promoted Lane Lambert to the role, elevating him from the position of associate coach which he had held with the team since 2018.
It’s a somewhat unsurprising move for the Islanders to promote Lambert to the big job, given the circumstances.
Not only does Lambert intimate possess knowledge of the Islanders’ locker room and team dynamic due to his tenure with them, but Lambert’s name has long been included at the top of any lists detailing coaching candidates around the league that deserve a shot. And with the unusually high number of vacancies behind NHL benches at the moment, it was likely that the Islanders would have lost him to another organization if they didn’t act fast.
Still, it’s odd to see Lambert take over for Trotz — especially after how unexpected the latter’s departure was just last week.
Lambert served under Trotz as an assistant coach during the pair’s tenure with the Washington Capitals, playing a key role in the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup championship in 2018, and then proceeded to follow Trotz to Long Island that summer when contract talks with Capitals ownership broke down.
Prior to his days in Washington, Lambert cut his teeth alongside Trotz once again in the Predators organization, serving as head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee from 2007 to 2011 and leading the Admirals to four straight playoff appearances before ultimately being promoted to the role of assistant coach under Trotz with the big club in Nashville.
Now, Lambert will have an NHL bench all to himself for the first time in his career. And with GM Lou Lamoriello’s insistence that the Islanders need a “new voice”, Lambert could be just the change of pace they’re looking for.