Isles Get Their Trotz

With Lou Lamoriello already in the fold and Barry Trotz the latest to sign a contract, the Islanders have completed two-thirds of their personnel hat-trick.

Completion, of course, will depend on whether the new Lou-Barry duet can persuade John Tavares to remain with the club as captain.

That decision will likely come soon; around the July 1 Free Agent Frenzy.

As for the man of the hour, the now former-Caps bench boss sent shock waves through the hockey world on Monday, June 18 when he announced his resignation from Washington.

During a conference call with the media, Barry Trotz discusses becoming the new head coach of the Islanders and shares his thoughts on John Tavares.

While many speculated what the soon-to-be-56-years-olds’ immediate future held, nobody was surprised by the report that he met with Lamoriello on June 20 to discuss the Isles’ head coaching gig.

After all, Lou made it a point to have a coach in place before the NHL Draft and he beat his deadline by about 30 hours.

“We’re going to get the best coach available,” Lou said after he removed Doug Weight and Garth Snow from their respective positions.

[Watch: Lamoriello Explains Decision To Remove Weight And Snow]

With a record of 205-89-34 over four seasons behind the Capitals’ bench — tops in NHL during that span — Trotz certainly fits the bill. And don’t forget, he’s also the fifth winningest coach in NHL history; only 20 wins behind beloved Islanders’ bench boss, Al Arbour for 4th all-time.

His track record of developing young players — Evgeny Kuznetsov and Roman Josi come to mind — bodes well for the Islanders and their young core. Players like the 2017-18 Calder Trophy winner, Mathew Barzal, will be shown the way to up their game even further under Barry’s watchful eye.

The Islanders' Mat Barzal shares his thoughts on winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL.

And not only will the current Isles benefit from Trotz’s teachings, but so will future Isles players. With the Dynamic Duo of Lamoriello-Trotz calling the shots, the Islanders will be a preferred destination for top-flight free agents; even more so if Tavares is coaxed into staying.

“Barry brings to the New York Islanders franchise a tremendous amount of knowledge,” said Lamoriello. “His experience and success. He is and has been one of the top coaches in the National Hockey League. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with him.”

Reader Anthony Orza, from Long Beach, NY, is thrilled with the Isles for hiring Trotz: “He’ll add a new dynamic to the organization. A proven coach like Trotz can definitely bring a level of professionalism to the Islanders that hasn’t been seen since Al Arbour was coach.”

And Samuel Sandler, from Suffern, NY, says: “This is a coach, coming off the best season of his coaching career. As a fan, how can you complain with a slew of young studs coming through the pipeline; things are looking up for the Isles organization.”

Or as Islanders fan Rob Taub, from Freeport, NY, says: “The Isles landing Barry Trotz is as monumental an acquisition the franchise has had in more than a decade. Coming off a Stanley Cup win and four straight seasons making the playoffs, Lou snagging Trotz to be his guy behind the bench should have the supporters on Long Island feeling giddy about the team’s future. Trotz being the ‘best coach’ available brings everything to the table that can lead the Islanders back to their winning way — smarts, discipline and experience.”

After breaking the Caps’ 44-year Cup drought, Trotz turns his attention to trying to do the same thing for the Islanders. And for those wondering if anyone’s ever willingly stepped down as head coach immediately after winning the Stanley Cup, Barry has some select company.

First to turn the trick was Scotty Bowman. After leading the 1978-79 Canadiens to a Cup victory, Scotty left Montreal for a gig as the Sabres’ GM. He later repeated his actions by retiring from coaching following his Cup-win with the 2001-02 Red Wings.

Next up was Bob Johnson, who won the 1990-91 Cup in Pittsburgh and then stepped down for health reasons.

Finally, came Mike Keenan, who came to the Rangers at the start of the 1993-94 season, hoping to break the team’s 54-year Stanley Cup jinx. After successfully completing his mission, Keenan left the team for a gig with St. Louis.

MAVEN’S OBSERVATIONS (From Portland, Oregon)

There are several points that provide an understanding of the Trotz hiring:

1) It underlines the CAN-DO strength of the current Islanders’ “New Look” administration.

2) It starts with the high-command, headed by Scott Malkin, Jon Ledecky and Tim Leiweke. And their determination for excellence overall.

3) The most pivotal hire, of course, is Lou Lamoriello and his also CAN-DO record; including his three Stanley Cups.

4) Lamoriello’s league-wide influence is what inspired Barry Trotz to sign-on and create a new regime, both on the ice and in the dressing room.

5) Whatever Tavares’ final decision, the Trotz hire will do as much as anything to persuade the captain to stay.

Whatever the outcome with Tavares, it’s now abundantly clear that the general staff is bent on a complete overhaul in every aspect of the organization.

The immediate aim is to win-now and the long distance one is to have a Cup-contender by the time the Belmont arena opens.

And if anyone has any doubts, the final two words, say it all — CAN-DO!


PIERRE LEBRUN (THE ATHLETIC): “If the New York Islanders don’t end up re-signing John Tavares, nobody will able to say they didn’t do everything they could to convince him of the club’s new direction.

“First, three-time Stanley Cup-winning GM Lou Lamoriello was brought on board to take helm of the franchise, and then Thursday came word that Barry Trotz had been hired as the new head coach.

“I mean, it’s impressive.”

ANDREW GROSS (NEWSDAY): “The hiring of Trotz continues an offseason makeover for the Islanders after Lamoriello was hired as president of hockey operations on May 22.”

BARRY TROTZ: “We want to play fast, with a lot of skill. We can play with pace. We’ve got to clean up the backend in terms of playing without the puck, get our goals against down. But this team is exciting.”

Editor’s Note: Matthew Blittner assisted with this article.