Lou Lamoriello's job performance with the NY Islanders is highly contentious

Lamoriello will begin his seventh season as Isles general manager in 2024-25.

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders enter their 2023-24 offseason without many question marks as they plan for the future. During the exit interviews earlier this month, Lou Lamoriello assured the fanbase he'll return for the 2024-25 season. He also has a vote of confidence for Patrick Roy, who helped orchestrate the Isles' late-season turnaround. On top of that, most of the coaching staff and roster are under contract through next season with little leeway in terms of cap space. In summary, fans will see the same group back at the beginning of training camp.

*Read our previously Published player report cards: Sebastian Aho | Mat Barzal | Samuel Bolduc | Casey Cizikas | Cal Clutterbuck | Noah Dobson | Pierre Engvall | Hudson Fasching | Simon Holmstrom | Bo Horvat | Anders Lee | Kyle MacLean | Matt Martin | Scott Mayfield | Brock Nelson | JG Pageau | Kyle Palmieri | Adam Pelech | Ryan Pulock | Mike Reilly | Alexander Romanov | Ilya Sorokin | Semyon Varlamov | Patrick Roy

2023-24 NY Islanders Report Card: Lou Lamoriello

The most controversial retention heading into the summer is general manager Lamoriello. Without saying much to the media, Lamoriello is, without question, the most polarizing figure in the fanbase. Some faithful believe in Lou because of his history of winning Stanley Cup championships with the New Jersey Devils. Others want a change of direction given the lack of youth presently on their roster. Very few fans remain mixed in their opinion of Lamoreillo. Sounds like the 2024 presidential election, huh?

1. Offseason decisions

If we were to strictly grade Lamoriello on his job performance in 2023-24, it would be such a mixed bag. First came his offseason decisions, which included extending seven-year contracts to Pierre Engvall and Scott Mayfield. Suffice it to say, that the early returns on these investments have not helped the team win games. 

On the other hand, Lamoriello also re-signed Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract and extended Ilya Sorokin for eight years with a reasonable cap hit worth $8.25 million. Sorokin did have a down season, but given his track record at age 28, there is every reason to expect the former Vezina Trophy finalist to turn things around in 2025. As for Varlamov, had he not been on the roster this season, the Isles would not have made the playoffs. As for Lamoriello's offseason, this is a D-level performance.

2. Coaching decisions

Then comes the regular season which also cannot be summed up in one sentence. The first half included countless blown leads in the third period and set the Isles on pace for the most overtime losses in their history. As a result, Lamoriello fired his second-year head coach Lane Lambert, and replaced him with Roy. 

This is also a mixed bag because, on one hand, Lamoriello deserves criticism for not foreseeing the future by replacing Lambert after an up-and-down 2022-23 season. On the other, Lamoriello pulled the trigger replacing Lambert with Roy, who helped the Isles make the playoffs. As for the coaching decisions, this is a C-level performance.

Lamoriello also made smaller decisions in the middle of all the controversies. He did claim Mike Reilly off waivers from the Florida Panthers, which was arguably his best decision in 2023-24. He also traded a seventh-round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues for Robert Bortuzzo, who did not significantly help nor hurt the Islanders in any way. For this, Lamoriello deserves a B.

3. Trade deadline

Lastly comes the trade deadline, where the Islanders decided to stand pat being just a few points out of a playoff spot in early March. They were in the midst of a six-game winning streak which brought them back into the Eastern Conference wild card conversation. The argument could be made this was the best chance to rebuild the roster since very few transactions were made at this year's trade deadline. However, the Isles likely miss the playoffs if major pieces were moved. For standing pat and giving Roy a chance to implement a system with this roster through April, Lamoriello deserves a B.

Some fans are reading this article thinking, "Lamoriello deserves credit for making the playoffs five times in six seasons". Others are reading this and thinking, "Based on the merits and the farm system, why should Lou be back?" Both sides are understandable. Lamoriello deserves credit for firing Lambert when he did while also sticking with this roster long enough to play the Carolina Hurricanes in round one.

Overall, Lamoriello does not deserve an A or even a B considering this roster showed many flaws throughout the season. He does not deserve an F either since the team fought back and made the playoffs after Roy took over. The grade given is also not based on decisions made in prior years, even though they have affected the team's cap situation and farm system. This means Lamoriello's job performance in 2023-24 deservingly falls somewhere in the middle.

Final Grade: C