In the span of two months, the New York Islanders have achieved the goal of creating the best front office in the NHL.
Lou Lamoriello has turned the New York Islanders from pretenders to contenders in the span of two months through changes which impact the club in the long-term — behind the bench and beyond.
From the moment Lou Lamoriello was brought on board, the Islanders had one goal in mind: restore legitimacy to a once-proud organization.
They have done just that.
Lamoriello has fulfilled his promise in finding the best candidates available for their respective positions, starting with Barry Trotz.
From there, the names kept on coming. Consider the upgrades that have taken place — Steve Pellegrini enters the fold as Lou’s right-hand man. Lamoriello steps in taking both the GM and team president roles away from Garth Snow. Lane Lambert assumes the associate coach position from Greg Cronin. John Gruden assumes one of the assistant positions from Luke Richardson/Kelly Buchberger (take your pick on that one).
Scott Gomez was confirmed by Newsday’s Andrew Gross to be the lone holdover from last season’s staff after running one of the most successful Islander-powerplays in decades (sixth overall in the NHL, over 20 percent for the first time in over a decade).
The Islanders’ defense will undeniably see a drastic turn-around with Trotz’s new system in comparison to that of last season. Though the roster could still use another top-four veteran, last season’s shortcomings arose from the visible dysfunction of a system that just didn’t work, coupled with the overuse of veteran defenders when some of the rookies didn’t earn the trust of former head coach Doug Weight.
For the goaltending, which needed some desperate help, Lamoriello made the most underrated signing of the summer in Robin Lehner and followed that up by placing Piero Greco, fresh off the Toronto Marlies’ first Calder Cup championship, in place of Fred Brathwaite and ensured he would answer to none other than the goalie guru himself, Mitch Korn.
The plan in place for the Islanders next season will be “show me what you’ve got” to each player on the roster. Though some fans are already sweating both Anders Lee — a 40-goal scorer — and the completely resurgent Jordan Eberle entering contract years with no preliminary discussions, things are different now.
Every man on the roster will have endured a full season of the Lamoriello-Trotz regime and will continue to be evaluated as the new bosses familiarize themselves with their new group of skaters. Keep in mind that though some of these players have varying degrees of experience, everyone is being given the same treatment as far as clean slates go.
In two months, Lamoriello has done more for the Islanders than has been done within the last 12 years. Gone are the days of bringing aboard rookie executives, coaches with no prior NHL experience, best friends to help run the show, long-term contracts to players who do little more than stick around and make little noise when so much is needed at every trade deadline.
It’s a new era in Islanders history, and from Lamoriello down to Korn they have an extremely dependable staff in place to lead the transition.