4. Playing best offensive defensemen with top-six forwards.
To give a team the best chance to score, the most production must come from the top-two forward lines. Logic would tell us as fans that their production is also linked to the defensemen that create the best opportunities to drive the puck from the blue line to the net. However, Lambert would often play Dobson and Romanov with the Isles’ third and fourth lines, while playing the bottom pairings with Barzal, Horvat, and Lee.
Roy has taken the most logical approach by playing Dobson and Romanov with the Isles’ top-two lines in each game he has coached. Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho saw most ice-time with the third line, while Scott Mayfield and the Bolduc-Reilly tandem played with the ‘Identity Line’. This makes the most sense as Pelech is the Isles’ best defenseman when it comes to blocking shots with Mayfield being their most physical without Ryan Pulock in the lineup. Furthermore, we have already seen a better forecheck on defense with Roy behind the bench, reminding us much of the Trotz-style defense that landed the Isles in back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
5. Transparency with the fanbase.
The Islanders under Lou Lamoriello have been very tight-lipped with the media, which is the only form of communication between the organization and its fanbase. In some cases, the Islanders should keep information internal such as conversations between players and coaches. As New Yorkers, we have seen the hysteria when private conversations are made public such as Max Scherzer with Steve Cohen or Zach Wilson with Robert Saleh.
However, information such as a player’s availability or line changes are unnecessary to keep private. Fans want to know the availability of Pierre Engvall and Semyon Varlamov. Lambert would rarely, if at all, give insight into his decision-making. Roy has already changed this, releasing the lineup for Tuesday’s game the morning of and explaining Samuel Bolduc’s role moving forward, which will be a rotation between him and Mike Reilly. Fans appreciate transparency and should not be shunned from all organizational decision-making. In fairness, it seems Roy is just as excited to update the fans as we are to hear from him.