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Lambert to Build Own Coaching Staff, Hiller & Gruden Fired

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New York Islanders Lane Lambert

Following the firing of head coach Barry Trotz and the hiring of Lane Lambert,  the decision on the rest of the coaching staff was up in the air. All the assistant coaches were under contract, something that New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello stated and reiterated during his press conference, introducing Lambert as the new head coach on the island.

Lamoriello also said that he and Lane would discuss and evaluate the coaching staff as a whole and make decisions on their futures at a later date.

“Lane and I will sit down and go over what his thoughts are and actually you know what my thoughts are, as far as the job descriptions of what the assistant role is in certain areas, and all those decisions are to come forward,” Lamoriello said.  “But right now, you know, our assistant coaches are, as I said, under contract, but we haven’t spent the time necessary in different areas, you know, that we will be doing in the short future.”

Well, that decision was made on Thursday, as Lamoriello relieved assistant coaches Jim Hiller and John Gruden of their duties.

Jim Hiller, 53, was named assistant coach back in the summer of 2019 after four seasons on the Toronto Maple Leafs bench.

In his three seasons as the  power-play coordinator, the New York Islanders power play did as followed:

2019-20: 17.3% (24th)

2020-21: 18.8% (20th)

2021-22: 22.1% (12th)

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, teams have been calling about Jim Hiller for their head coaching vacancies. Now he has the ability to garner an NHL head coaching job for the first time in his NHL career.

John Gruden, 52,  joined the Islanders when Barry Trotz came to the island back in the summer of 2018 after spending three years as the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs. He was also an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 U18 World Juniors.

For Lane Lambert, he now has the ability to bring in his coaching staff, which will add to the “new voice” mantra that Lamoriello was singing after the firing of Trotz and the promotion of Lambert.

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