“I believe that this group of players needs a new voice,” the Islanders‘ front office czar said.
Lamoriello has found him. And the search did not have to cover much ground.
The Isles have promoted assistant Lane Lambert to the big chair. He was Trotz’s associate coach the last four seasons and was also with him on the bench in Washington when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.
“In my opinion, he is the right person to coach this team,” Lamoriello said in a release.
Lambert’s hire is not a surprise. WFAN’s Boomer Esiason — the father-in-law of Isles winger Matt Martin — dropped his name almost immediately when news of Trotz’s surprise fire broke on air. But it certainly begs some questions.
While Lambert may have had head coaching opportunities elsewhere, it’s not like he’s some rising young star. The guy is going to turn 58 during the upcoming season and this is his first NHL head job. Promoting the popular assistant also suggests that while Lamoriello may have been determined to dump Trotz himself, the players may have helped push him out the door as well.
Anyway, this is likely going to be the last big move of Lamoriello’s Hall of Fame career. The guy changed coaches like socks with the Devils and managed to win three Cups. The Isles still have a roster that went to back-to-back conference finals before the fluke nightmare season that did Trotz in. Lambert does not have much runway. He needs to win immediately.
As for Trotz: It does not look like the other hockey locals plan to capitalize on his unexpected free agency. The Devils should have fired Lindy Ruff once Trotz became available, but they didn’t. And the remote chance the Rangers would dump Gerard Gallant after one season is likely off the table after their stirring comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]