NY Islanders: Possible Outcomes for GM Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Lane Lambert

Oct 29, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert speaks to the media
Oct 29, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert speaks to the media / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Islanders aren't playing games that matter again until October, but the waiting game is in full effect during the early days of the off-season as we have yet to hear from President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Lane Lambert.

Following the end of the team's season that concluded last Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 at UBS Arena, the players made themselves available on 'clean out' day, but toward the end of the afternoon, beat reporters were informed that neither Lamoriello nor Lambert would be speaking. When will they be speaking? We do not know. It'll be a later date, they say.

Not knowing is something we've become accustomed to during Lamoriello's closed-up tenure, which leaves fans' heads spinning with possibilities that are wrong more times than not. We don't know whether their lack of media availability meant something or nothing at all. Last year it did when neither Lamoriello nor Barry Trotz spoke after breakout day. When Lamoriello did finally speak, it was to announce that he had shockingly relieved Trotz of his duties and that it was his assessment that the team needed a "new voice" as they aimed to return to the postseason.

So with that as the backdrop, we are left to speculate as to what is happening behind closed doors and what could be announced in the coming days.

Will Lamoriello still be the GM? If so, what does that mean for Lambert? How does ownership assess the season? These are all questions we hope to have answers to sooner rather than later. Islanders fans want closure to this season, and that can't happen until it's known who will be leading the decision-making process for the Islanders moving forward.

So as we wait, and wait some more, here are four potential outcomes for Lamoriello and Lambert.

Lamoriello and Lambert both return

Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders
Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin choose stability over change and work out a way for Lamoriello to stay on as General Manager under new contract terms. Lamoriello is satisfied with how his first-year head coach performed this season, most notably how the team came together following the Mathew Barzal injury to be one of the league's better teams over the final two months and make the postseason. Although Lamoriello has never shied away from making a brash move when his gut tells him it's the right one, he is not willing to dismiss Lambert a year after deciding he was the best choice for the organization after moving on for Barry Trotz. He concludes that Lambert will be better next season after navigating through an adversity-filled first year.

While Lambert is back, assistant John MacLean is not. The former New Jersey Devils forward has a long-time relationship with Lamoriello, but after the team finished 30th in the league in power play percentage and went 1-for-18 with the man advantage against the Carolina Hurricanes, running it back with the same coaching staff is not an option.

Lamoriello stays; Lambert is fired

New York Islanders Training Camp
New York Islanders Training Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

This means the situation is currently playing out as it did the previous off-season.

Lamoriello would presumably be secure enough in his position to dismiss a head coach for the second consecutive season. This time, firing the coach he hand-picked after making the bold and unpopular move of relieving Barry Trotz of his duties at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

Lamoriello believes Lambert performed admirably in his first season behind the bench, but the team's inconsistent effort level was worrying, while their only modest improvement offensively during the season was concerning. Lambert is learning on the job, but Lamoriello determined that the team could not wait for Lambert to mature further into the head coaching position.

It would also demonstrate that the unwavering support co-owner Jon Ledecky has given Lamoriello publicly over the last two seasons remains and that ownership believes that their organization is better off in the trusted hands of Lamoriello than an unknown alternative. The decision would signal that the 80-year-old President of Hockey Operations and General Manager will remain on the job until he no longer wants it, as ownership permits him to hire his third coach in six seasons.

Lamoriello and Lambert are both relieved of their duties

Nashville Predators v New York Islanders
Nashville Predators v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

This would signal a major course correction for the franchise.

After making the postseason four out of the last five seasons, ownership decided that the 2023-24 season is when a more aggressive retool needs to start with fresh eyes on a roster largely consisting of Garth Snow draft picks and Lou Lamoriello acquisitions that he extended to long-term contracts. Ledecky and Malkin have assessed the landscape of the NHL and acknowledge the speed by which the game is being played by the top teams in the league. They have determined that the current roster is good enough to make the playoffs but is not a serious contender for a Stanley Cup.

Former Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving is rumored as a leading candidate to replace Lamoriello with proven head coaches, including Peter Laviolette, who won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and led the Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. The possibility of a homecoming of sorts for Laviolette is popular with fans, as his first NHL coaching job was with the Islanders when he was hired by Mike Milbury ahead of the 2001-02 season and led the team to the playoffs for the first time since 1994.

Lamoriello won't return; Lambert in limbo

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

Ownership and Lamoriello can't agree to terms on a new contract, and the GM graciously steps aside, thanking ownership for the opportunity to lead the Islanders. In a statement, Lamoriello thanks the players and coaches that he had the pleasure to associate with over the last five seasons for their professionalism, dedication, and commitment.

Another version of this is that Lamoriello could relinquish his General Manager title but remain the team's President of Hockey Operations. In such a scenario, Lamoriello would be tasked with hiring or promoting his replacement as General Manager.

Ledecky and Malkin are undecided on Lambert and determine that the new General Manager best decides his fate. After the team names a new GM, Lambert is afforded the opportunity to interview in order to maintain his job. Ultimately, it won't be enough as the new GM has a vision of his own, one that did not include Lane Lambert behind the Islanders bench.