He’s next in line. Or should be. New York Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert is ready for a head coaching gig at the NHL level. It’s just a matter of time really. But 2021-22 might not be the year.
Going into the offseason, there were five openings around the NHL. The Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Kraken, Rangers, and the Sabres (who still had Don Granato as an interim coach). As of July 1, the last opening is apparently staffed. According to reports, the Arizona Coyotes will officially hire Andre Tourigny later today.
Which points to Lane Lambert staying with the Islanders for at least another year.
New York Islanders keep Lane Lambert another year
Lambert came over with Barry Trotz in 2018 where he was named as an associate coach for the Islanders. A role that reflects how important he is to the coaching staff. That role places him a step below Trotz in the Islanders coaching structure and effectively the second in command.
Lambert is responsible for the Islanders penalty kill and for their forwards. Since his appointment, the Isles PK ranks eighth in the NHL with an 81.1% efficiency.
Now when it comes to the forwards, they aren’t doing as well relative to the rest of the league (the Isles offense ranks 24th in the NHL since 2018), but Lambert has this group of forwards scoring enough to win games and playing team defense. Along with Barry Trotz, Lane Lambert has these forwards dialed in on the system and playing team first, and it’s working.
Like I said at the start, he’s next in line for an NHL head coaching gig. At least when it comes to guys who haven’t yet lead their own bench at the NHL level. Playing so late into the season over the last two years clearly impacts his ability to interview for jobs. Not that he minds too much, every deep run he goes on with the Islanders makes him a more viable candidate.
He’ll find a head coaching gig soon just not this year it seems. I expect he’ll finally get that gig next year, but who knows. Coaching jobs are all about timing and who you know. On a purely selfish level, that’s perfectly fine because he’s done a hell of a job with the Islanders.