One of the advantages of hiring Lane Lambert to replace Barry Trotz was his familiarity with the current roster and the roster's familiarity with him. That sentiment remains as true as it did the day Lambert was hired following an off-season that did not see the Islanders sign a free agent expected to be on the opening night roster.
Lambert met in-person with a group of local beat reporters on Tuesday ahead of prospects reporting for camp and taking the ice on Thursday and echoed the refrain of his general manager - the Islanders feel they can win with the group they're returning.
"I am very comfortable first of all. Yeah, there’s no question about it. And the reason I’m comfortable in the comfort level is I know we have good players and good people. It’s that simple. You know, there’s a lot of talent. There’s a lot of character and, you know, I’m extremely comfortable with what we have.”"- Lane Lambert
Since Lambert was chosen as the "new voice" to lead the Islanders into the 2022-23 season after missing the playoffs, the open question has been how much the protege would differ from his teacher. Lambert made a point of stating that even though the roster hasn't turned over, doesn't mean the Islanders will be playing the same way they did under Trotz.
“I’ve learned a lot from him [Trotz] over the years and taken some of that with me," said Lambert. "Certainly, there’s things that I have in my mind, offensively and defensively, to help our team grow and get better and we’ll implement those in training camp. I won’t get into details right now.”
The Islanders need to move forward with the team they brought back. It will be up to Lambert to balance the winning traits the team accrued under Trotz with new energy and a fresh perspective.
Lambert added that this season is about moving forward and no longer dwelling on a lost season where everything seemed to be working against them. “We’ve had, we’ve had success in the past, you know, and we didn’t make the playoffs last year. That’s the bottom line," stated Lambert. "So the slate is clean. It’s not looking backwards anymore. It’s about looking forwards completely.”
GM Lou Lamoriello has given the players an opportunity to prove that last season was an aberration after two deep playoff runs, and they should be motivated to deliver on that chance.
“You can say whatever you want to say, road games or COVID or this or that. There aren’t any excuses. We can’t make any excuses, and that’s why the past is in the past, and we’re gonna move forward, said Lambert. "I think there’s a sense from the players of having something to prove. There’s no question about it.”
Islanders training camp starts on Wednesday, September 21st.