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New York Islanders fire coach Barry Trotz after missing playoffs

9:55 AM ET
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    Greg WyshynskiESPN

The New York Islanders fired head coach Barry Trotz on Monday, with president and general manager Lou Lamoriello saying the team needs "a new voice."

The Islanders missed the playoffs, finishing with 84 points (37-35-10) and falling short of the Eastern Conference playoff cut by 16 points. It was the first time in Trotz's four seasons with the team that they didn't make a postseason appearance.

 

Lamoriello informed Trotz that the team was parting ways with him Monday morning. He said the only other individuals that knew about the decision were Islanders ownership, and that he didn't consult with anyone or speak to the players about the decision.

When asked why he decided to fire Trotz, Lamoriello said, "I would rather not get into any of the reasons," but he did specify that "this decision was not primarily made on this season."

 

The Islanders fired Barry Trotz on Monday after his squad failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons as the team's coach. Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

In four seasons as the team's coach, Trotz was 152-102-34 and 28-21 in the playoffs. The Islanders had reached the third round of the playoffs in two straight seasons, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning both times.

 

Trotz's Islanders teams were known for their stingy defense, twice finishing in the top two in goals-against average. But that defense slipped to seventh in the NHL this season. Offensively, Trotz's teams didn't finish higher than 21st in goals per game average during his time with the Islanders.

 

This season was a challenging one for the Islanders. Like most NHL teams, they struggled through lineup absences and postponements due to the COVID-19 omicron variant. They also started with 13 straight road games as their new UBS Arena was completed. Lamoriello said he took those circumstances under consideration in making his decision.

 

Trotz, 59, joined the Islanders in 2018 after helping the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup the previous season. Overall, Trotz is 914-670-60-168 in 23 seasons as a head coach with the Islanders, Capitals and Nashville Predators. His 914 career wins are third most in NHL history, trailing just Joel Quenneville (969) and Scotty Bowman (1244). Trotz is 83-79 in  the playoffs and had one year remaining on his contract with the Islanders.

 

Trotz won his second career Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year in his first season with the Islanders during the 2018-19 season. He also won the trophy in in 2015-16 as head coach of the Capitals.

 

"I would like to thank Barry for everything he's done for the organization for the last four years. It would be a tremendous understatement to say that this wasn't an easy decision to make," said Lamoriello, praising Trotz's character. "This is a business decision as far as hockey and winning."

 

Lamoriello now begins the search for a "new voice" for the Islanders. He said the team's assistant coaches remain under contract, including associate coach Lane Lambert, Trotz's longtime right-hand man and a highly regarded head-coaching candidate. Lamoriello said the next head coach will make the call on those assistants.

 

The Islanders enter the offseason with 18 players under contract and just over $12 million in salary-cap space. Lamoriello specified that improving his defense with an offensive-minded defenseman is a priority.

 

"But what we need to do is get improvement out of our younger players and a more complete year out of some of our veterans than we did this year," he said.

Lamoriello has now made 21 head-coaching changes since becoming an NHL general manager in 1987.

Edited by Brewin Flames
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That's a surprising move, but...What have you done for me lately?

 

Seeing Detroit rumors. Don't want him in the Leafs division. That team is already ascending. 

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I've always found Barry Trotz to be a good coach simply based on the results he usually gets when he is brought on.
Obviously, as Nashville's first head coach, he was responsible there for taking a traditional expansion franchise and bringing them up to speed of the league, instilling a workmanlike attitude that I believe persists today there, and with the help of his GM's, stock the minor league system for long term viability.

Then he goes over to Washington and helps get the monkey off their back...coaching them to a title, while instilling a sense of hard work defense into what was mostly a 'score goals' only group.

Goes to the Islanders and takes what was already a grindy Islander team and turns them into a TOUGH, CONTENDING grindy Islanders team that could have won Cups had they not had the misfortune of continually running into eventual Champions Tampa Bay.

Now...having said all that, I DO have to wonder:

What was the deal with Washington? Why did he walk away? Seemed he could have helped them try and get another Cup with his brand of hockey.
And why did the Islanders fire him now? To me, he has actually helped elevate that team as I stated, even after John Tavares headed to Toronto and still have the ingredients to continue to challenge for a Cup given the right off season moves.

Is there something about Trotz where, like John Tortorella, he simply has a set "shelf life" and unless the results come quickly (like they did in Washington), he simply loses the room to players tuning him out?
Does ownership feel he stifles offense too much to the point where they don't think he can duplicate what he did with the Capitals?

Just a really strange situation.
Winning coach walks away from one winning franchise (or is coaxed into leaving, not sure which), then is fired by another.....and all this while more good work could still be done by him.

I would think the man ends up with a job somewhere quickly....and he will bring his coaching style along for the ride.
But who out there, needs fixing, would be willing to do things Trotz' way, and adapt a mostly defensive structure, without fear of losing an offensive identity?

Vancouver? Philadelphia? San Jose? Vegas?

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Not exactly sure what went on with the decision Trotz made when he walked away from the Washington Capitals after the championship season.

 

This season however is a little different. Trotz had 1 year left on his contract so this had to come from the front office. Either they wanted to go in another direction on the bench or high profile players on the team were not really meshing with Trotz and they voiced their frustrations with the front office and that was the reason for the change. Obviously the team did not meet the goals they wanted to this season with missing the playoffs, but it was far from a horrible season. 

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The Isles started their season with like 15 games on the road. In a loaded division, pretty hard to overcome a bad start. Still, they seemed to have pulled the plug quite quickly and I have the same questions greatly summarized by @TropicalFruitGirl26 above.

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Didn’t Trotz leave Washington because they dragged their feet on resigning him?

Basically saying win cup or you’re gone. Pretty stupid of the Caps. 
I’d like to be his agent as I’msure the phone is ringing. 

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