NY Islanders assistants John MacLean and Doug Houda returning for 2023-24

Los Angeles Kings v New York Islanders
Los Angeles Kings v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Lost amid much of the information provided by Lou Lamoriello at his pre-rookie camp press conference yesterday was the confirmation that NY Islanders assistants Doug Houda and John MacLean will be returning for the 20223-24 season. 

During the silence from the organization following the Islanders' Game 6 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes from both Lamoriello and Lane Lambert, questions arose as to the direction the team would be heading regarding the coaching staff.

Houda, who is in charge of the Islanders penalty kill, produced a solid unit last season, finishing at 82.2%, good enough for ninth in the league. The Isles got off to the hottest start in their 50-year history on the PK, successfully blanking their opponents on their first 28 opportunities. Vezina Trophy finalist Ilya Sorokin has been the backbone of the PK, as the penalty killers in front of him work to clear lanes for their goaltender while blocking a few shots of their own.

MacLean, who took over on the power play in his first season on Long Island, wasn’t the Islanders first choice to lead the man-advantage as Lambert’s staff was rounding out. The Isles initially agreed to hire Brian Wiseman as an assistant, but on July 28, 2022, the team announced Wiseman wouldn’t be joining the staff and MacLean would be filling that role. 

Doug Houda
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Islanders' power play was atrocious last season, scoring at a 15.8% clip - 30th in the league, just .2 percentage points higher than the bottom-dwelling Philadelphia Flyers. 

Despite last seasons power play woes, Lamoriello isn’t worried about his team while on the man advantage heading into a new season.

“I’m not concerned about the power play,” said Lamoriello. “I think the power play will rebound, respond. We have the ingredients.” Huh

MacLean isn’t to blame solely for the Isles' abysmal power play, as the entire team lacked production, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee led the team with six goals each on the man advantage, and Bo Horvat only scored once a man up since being acquired, after scoring 11 in 49 games with the Vancouver Canucks

For the Isles to succeed this season, they’ll need to maintain their position as one of the leagues top penalty-killing units and significantly improve on the man advantage. They’ll likely be fighting for their playoff lives once again without both clicking.