NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Lou Lamoriello’s assessment of the Islanders season up to now is likely to be finest described as cautiously optimistic.
“We’re definitely happy with the progress that we’ve made,” Lamoriello stated Thursday morning because the Islanders skated forward of their match in opposition to the Predators. “However it is a robust league. It’s important to be prepared every night time, and that’s all we’re doing is specializing in getting ready one of the simplest ways we presumably can.”
With the quarter mark of the season creeping up, the Islanders have performed above the expectations of most prognosticators, coming into Thursday in second place within the Metropolitan Division after a disappointing 2021-22. Lamoriello stored most of his roster intact through the offseason, with the one main change being the addition of defenseman Alexander Romanov by way of commerce. The ahead group, which struggled final season, remained intact.
Up to now, that’s engaged on each ends. The Isles got here into Thursday ranked twelfth in per-game scoring and fifth in per-game protection below new coach Lane Lambert, who has applied a extra liberal system than predecessor Barry Trotz. Forward of the sport in opposition to the Predators, the Islanders had gained 9 of their final 11.
Lou Lamoriello loves the Islanders’ ‘progress’ this yr. Getty Photographs
“We had confidence in [the forwards],” Lamoriello stated. “Proper now, we’re getting the objectives that we wanted to be getting, so we’re happy at this level, definitely.”
“I feel we’re taking part in faster,” fourth-liner Cal Clutterbuck stated. “I feel we’re fairly resilient. We’ve had video games the place we’ve needed to come again, had video games the place we took the lead. We’re sort of profitable alternative ways, displaying that we’ve been in a position to outlast groups that play totally different kinds and totally different conditions.”
Hiring Lambert ended up being the highest-profile transfer of the offseason for the Islanders, who additionally revamped their assistant teaching employees with Lamoriello acolyte John MacLean and former Detroit assistant Doug Houda.
“Preparation is phenomenal,” Lamoriello stated of the teaching employees. “All of them have gained, they know precisely what it takes to win. Each has gained a Stanley Cup. They know the worth you must pay every day, and so they switch that to the gamers, and the gamers imagine in them, which is the necessary factor.”
Romanov, who’s shaped a pair the Islanders hope can be collectively for the foreseeable future with fellow 22-year-old Noah Dobson, has been “glorious,” Lamoriello stated.
Lane Lambert is in his first season as Islanders coach. AP
“He introduced simply what we thought he would deliver,” Lamoriello stated. “Physicality, dedication, loves the sport, performs it onerous. Simply provides a dimension to our protection which makes it higher.”
As for any future strikes — the Isles at the moment have an open roster spot after waiving Nikita Soshnikov — Lamoriello was mum. He’s, although, proud of the present depth on the roster, saying there can be no corresponding transfer to get to 23 gamers. The Islanders have two extra video games on the street after Thursday, in Dallas and Toronto, earlier than returning dwelling to face the Oilers.
The organizational depth is in a very good place as properly, as Lamoriello estimated there are “half a dozen” gamers at AHL Bridgeport with the NHL of their future, although nothing is imminent with the NHL roster in a strong place.
“I feel we’re in a very good place so far as, luckily, we’re wholesome,” Lamoriello stated. “We’ve bought seven defensemen, we’ve bought our two goaltenders, we’ve bought an additional ahead, which is good, and it provides you the flexibleness that, if there’s something that you simply’d love to do, you are able to do it shortly with out maneuvering your roster.”