3. Sticking with Lane Lambert following the 2022-23 season.
The Islanders were very inconsistent in the 2022-23 season. The team started 15-8-0, then went into a January tailspin that saw them fall out of a playoff spot. However, the Islanders would prevail and finish the season 18-9-4 between February, March, and April. They finished strong without Barzal in the lineup and Horvat struggling through his first half-a-season on Long Island.
Some believed Lambert would be on the hot seat given questionable lineup decisions and starch contrasts in performance between himself and Barry Trotz. The team finished 31st in powerplay production and had periods of play that were just lackluster offensively. Lambert was searching for answers, even asking the likes of Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin to play on the top line with Barzal. It was decisions such as these that made fans question his leadership on the ice.
Lamoriello decided to stick with Lambert because the team never gave up on his message and has found a niche to bounce back even in the most furious of times. The Islanders demonstrated this poise in bouncing back from a west coast trip in November that saw the team blow 3 third-period leads in 4 games. We also saw the Isles start a winning streak following a third-period meltdown to the Sharks. This shows the players are committed to Lambert’s messaging, even if his decisions are not always the clearest.