Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert watches practice at Northwell Health Ice...

Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert watches practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow on April 19, 2019.  Credit: James Escher

Setting a tone

New bench boss Lane Lambert is a familiar face after serving as Barry Trotz’s associate coach the past four seasons. But Lambert also needs to be the “new voice” that president and general manager Lou Lamoriello cited when he fired Trotz. Lambert can use training camp to start to show how he will be different from his predecessor. “He’s his own guy,” defenseman Scott Mayfield said. “But there is familiarity with him.”

Finding a sixth (and seventh) defenseman

Sebastian Aho of the Islanders skates against the Capitals at UBS...

Sebastian Aho of the Islanders skates against the Capitals at UBS Arena on April 28. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Veterans Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene are gone so the Islanders must round out their blue-line corps past the top five of Mayfield, Noah Dobson, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Alexander Romanov. Sebastian Aho, Dennis Cholowski, Grant Hutton and Robin Salo likely enter camp as the leading candidates, though none has much NHL experience. Cholowski, 24, split last season between the Kraken and Capitals’ organizations and has played 115 NHL games. Salo, 24, played 21 games for the Islanders last season and Hutton, 27, was in 16. Aho, 26, has played 61 games for the Islanders since 2017.

The forward lines

Lambert will experiment with combinations  — though the identity fourth line of Casey Cizikas between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck will almost certainly stay intact — but there may be little room for any rookies to crack the lineup. Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Zach Parise also seem set and Kieffer Bellows, Ross Johnston and Oliver Wahlstrom also return. It will be interesting to see whether prospects such as Aatu Raty, William Dufour, Arnaud Durandeau, Simon Holmstrom and Ruslan Iskhakov push for a spot.

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