Islanders Fire Assistant Coaches John Gruden and Jim Heller

The Islands made their first big move during Lynne Lambert’s tenure on Thursday, sacking assistant coaches Jon Gruden and Jim Heller.

That means Lambert has three assistant coaching positions to fill – third is the assistant coach title he held prior to his promotion – with goalkeeping manager Mitch Korn and goalkeeping coach Piero Greco yet to be announced. Gruden has been working with Islanders since Barry Trotz’s tenure as coach in 2018, and Heller was hired in 2019, although they did not have extensive connections with Trotz prior to working with him in New York.

General Manager Lou Lamorillo left the status of both coaches up in the air when he announced Lambert’s appointment, saying only that they were still under contract at the time.

But after a few weeks, he apparently decided that the islanders would benefit from the change.

Lamoreello made the sudden decision to sack Trotz and promote Lambert after a disastrous season, as the team finished 37-35-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018. The Islands’ season was derailed early on, as they struggled. COVID-19 outbreak upon returning home from a five-week road trip as they wait for construction to finish at the UBS Arena.

The Islanders sacked assistant coaches John Gruden (left) and Jim Heller (right) on Thursday.
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On top of the training change, Lamoreello noted looking for “hockey deals” in an off season as islanders look to add more firepower.

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