Over the past two years, the New York Islanders have made massive strides finishing in the final four twice. With that, they have finally garnered more respect and that can be shown with their Front Office Confidence ranking from The Athletic (subscription required).
Normally, people tend to write off the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello because they aren’t what you would call analytic friendly. Granted, since the 2020 bubble that’s changed, but the stigma is still there.
That’s why when the Islanders came in fifth in the league in front office confidence I was pleasantly surprised.
In both the public eye and the fan base eye, according to Dom Luszczyszyn’s study, the change in confidence has increased dramatically. The overall consensus is that the culture that Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz are building is working. Go figure!
In the description of why they rank where they do, Luszczyszyn cites the buy-in from the team that is making the most difference. From the top on down, everyone knows their role and plays it perfectly.
In roster building, cap management, trading, free agency, and vision the Islanders rank top-10 in all of these categories in both the public and fan view. The only area where they struggle is draft and develop where they rank 14th. That seems more than fair.
For context, last year the Islanders were 16th in the league in the Front Office Confidence ranking. Fifth overall seems to make a lot more sense.
The only teams that rank in front of the Islanders are Tampa Bay, Colorado, Detroit, and Florida. Outside of Tampa who has won each of the last two years, you could make the case that the Isles have seen the most success over that time.
Some other notables in this study were the Maple Leafs and the Rangers. Last year, the Maple Leafs were seventh in this study while the Rangers came in fifth. Both saw a rapid fall in the rankings this year.
Toronto was 18th while the Rangers dropped to 23rd. Another disappointing playoff exit and a Tom Wilson caused rebrand is the main culprit of the fall for both of these teams.
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Keep doing the thing Lou Lamoriello. Who knows, at this rate they could very well be first overall in next year’s poll.