The New York Islanders season is over and the offseason is underway. The Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1 for the second time in three seasons, resulting in even more disappointment for Islanders fans. When president of hockey operations and general manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello announced he and head coach Patrick Roy would be returning next season, many fans were upset given the team’s need for change. However, there may be a bigger message to take away from this press conference.

Remember Barry Trotz?

Given the news of Lamoriello and Roy returning, it has become increasingly clear that this team believes in the group they have, so no major changes should be expected. However, with Lamoriello getting up there in age, he may be thinking about his successor. While this is pure speculation, it appears as if Roy himself is a front-runner.

Related: Does Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello Have Job Security?

When the Islanders parted with head coach Barry Trotz in 2022, it came as a shock to many. He was a key reason the team found so much success in their 2019 to 2021 stretch, so firing him after one poor season made no sense. The firing was under murky conditions, with fans lacking any insight regarding the reasoning. Now two years later, it is beginning to make sense.

Patrick Roy, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At the time, Trotz likely approached Lamoriello, asking for a management role. Trotz, who was 59 years old at the time, likely felt as if it was time to take the next step in his career. The two likely realized there was no realistic path for Trotz to reach a role worth taking in management anytime soon, so he left the organization. Less than one year later, Trotz joined the Nashville Predators before taking over as GM on July 1, 2023.

Now, the Islanders may be preparing Roy to succeed Lamoriello as GM in the coming seasons. This could be the case because Roy, who was hired midseason, was given a two-year contract without the interim tag. This is usually not the case for midseason coaching hires, so it was a cause for discussion for Islanders fans. Before joining the Islanders, he spent time with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as vice president of hockey operations, owner, GM, and head coach. He was also named head coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche in 2013 where he had a major influence on all hockey-related decisions.

It’s Roy’s World and We’re Just Living in It?

Another reason to believe this may be the case is that Roy himself is preparing Benoit Desrosiers to succeed him on the bench. Roy brought Desrosiers to the Islanders midseason, and Desrosiers is just 35 years old. He spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach in the QMJHL before becoming a head coach in the 2023-24 season. His stint as head coach was cut short, but his promotion to an assistant coach for the Islanders was worth it. Given his young age and lack of professional experience, it is unlikely that he would be ready to step into a head coaching role next season, but doing so in the future is not out of the question.

With all of this said, there is one major reason to believe that Roy would succeed Lamoriello as GM. In Lamoriello’s previous role as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he prepared then-assistant GM Kyle Dubas to be his successor. Dubas immediately filled the role upon Lamoriello joining the Islanders, leading the Maple Leafs to moderate success. Dubas also spent four seasons as GM of the Maple Leafs’ minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

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This rationale by Lamoriello could lead to two pathways. The first is he hires his son, Chris Lamoriello, who has been an assistant GM for the Islanders since 2017, as well as the GM of the Bridgeport Islanders. However, this would be a horrible decision given Bridgeport’s incredibly frustrating seasons since Lamoriello’s tenure began. The more likely pathway that Lamoriello is pursuing is hiring Roy as his successor in either 2025 or 2026. This would allow the 81-year-old Lamoriello to ease his way out of the Islanders organization by hiring a well-respected NHL veteran who has experience coaching and in a front-office role. This would also allow the notoriously tight-lipped Lamoriello to instill the principles he wholeheartedly values into Roy to ensure they continue to get carried out on the roster he constructed.

As the offseason begins, it is officially the season of ridiculous trade proposals, improbable free agent signings, and absurd mock drafts. News breaks constantly and speculation runs rampant. By looking deeper at certain quotes by players and personnel, fans can gauge a better idea of what to expect in the offseason. Or, this could all be a waste of time as the offseason goes in a different direction.


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