Former New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, shown Jan. 5, 2019, was fired last week after the Isles missed the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons behind the bench. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
May 16 (UPI) -- The New York Islanders hired longtime assistant Lane Lambert to replace Barry Trotz as the franchise's head coach.
"There is without question a new voice," Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday. "That new voice is here with Lane, and certainly Lane has different thoughts on different things."
Trotz was fired last week after the Islanders failed to make the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons behind the bench. He had one year remaining on his contract.
Lamoriello said a significant reason for the coaching change was a stretch in January when Lambert took over for Trotz, who took a leave of absence to deal with a family matter. The Isles' general manager came away impressed with Lambert's leadership skills.
"When he got the opportunity or was put in that role, he had no questions in his mind as far as his decision-making, no insecurities in the conversations I had with him, and the homework he did prior to making some of the decisions that were put upon him," Lamoriello said.
"He was totally comfortable in his own skin to make decisions that had to be made no matter where we are and no matter what game it was."
The 57-year-old Lambert -- a first-time NHL head coach -- has worked alongside Trotz as an assistant coach the past 11 years with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Islanders. He won a Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, after which Trotz stepped down amid a contract dispute and joined the Isles.
Lambert said he spoke twice with Trotz and received his blessing.
"I talked to Barry last week early on after he had received the news, and he told me that he was hoping that I would get the job," Lambert said. "And then I just spoke to him not too long ago and he used the words that he was 'thrilled.'"
Assistant coaches Jim Hiller and John Gruden and goaltending coach Piero Greco are still under contract with the Islanders. Lamoriello and Lambert are expected to decide on their futures in the coming weeks.