Patrick Roy earned his second chance as an NHL coach with the NY Islanders and the early results were encouraging

Patrick Roy led the NY Islanders to the postseason as head coach this season.
Patrick Roy led the NY Islanders to the postseason as head coach this season. / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

When the NY Islanders fired Lane Lambert, it was not exactly a shock. After all, the Isles had been struggling, and Lambert had been on the hot seat for weeks. But when Patrick Roy was announced as his replacement, there was a palpable sense of surprise not only amongst the Islanders' fan base, but among the NHL media at-large.

*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

NY Islanders 2023-24 Report Card: Patrick Roy

Roy had been coaching the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts after a (largely) unsuccessful stint as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. But Lou Lamoriello never does anything conventionally, so of course, when Lambert was axed, Roy was brought in to right the ship. In addition, Roy was not brought in with any sort of "interim" designation. This partnership was designed to be long-term from the start.

Roy's first (half-)season as the Islanders' head coach was a success. The Isles went 20-12-5 under Roy, eventually finishing third in the Metropolitan Division. After their uneven start to the season, a playoff berth was never a guarantee, so Roy and the Islanders deserve credit for making the playoffs. Roy showed an uncanny attention to detail, which made his postgame press conferences extremely interesting. Additionally, their practices became much tougher, with Roy famously not needing a whistle due to his boisterous attitude on the ice.

But a lot of the negative issues that plagued the Islanders in the first half of the season continued to plague the Islanders down the stretch. The power play, which was very good in the first half of the season, became more inconsistent in the second half. The historically-bad penalty kill continued to struggle, never seeming to find an appropriate level. Ilya Sorokin had the worst season of his career, as the team turned to backup Semyon Varlamov in the postseason. They continued to blow leads in the third-period, and were often the victims of small hiccups snowballing due to the Isles being unable to stop the bleeding.

As the Islanders move forward, they are going to face a lot of questions about the current core of the team, and whether this core is capable of winning the Stanley Cup. When the Islanders hired a coach of Roy's statute, they ensured that he would be a central figure in that discussion, which is interesting considering the fact that Lou Lamoriello is in his eighties. Most teams would not trust a GM in that position to hire such a fixture, but the Islanders are not most teams, and Patrick Roy is not just anybody.

As the Islanders continue to mold their roster, they will mold it in Patrick Roy's image: a tough team with strong goaltending that can score timely goals and not wilt under pressure with a lead at the end of a game. They started down that path this year, even if they were not ultimately successful in the postseason. But with such a proven winner at the helm, the Islanders can be confident that they have the right head coach in place as they move into the future.

Final Grade: B+