New York Islanders: EWB Roundtable – Is Trotz the Coach of the Year?

New York Islanders, Barry Trotz. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
New York Islanders, Barry Trotz. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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New York Islanders
Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders have been one of the best teams in the NHL this season. We asked our panel of experts if he should be the NHL’s Coach of the Year.

A year ago, the New York Islanders were mired among the worst teams in the National Hockey League, struggling both on and off the ice. They ended the 2017-18 season with 80 points, barely ahead of their crosstown rivals on Broadway (77) who sent a letter to their fans six weeks earlier, that they were blowing up their team and rebuilding.

Shortly after the season ended, Islanders ownership brought 76-year-old Lou Lamoriello back to the metropolitan area and gave him complete control of the team’s hockey operations. One of the first things he realized was that it was unfeasible to resign star center John Taveras, who walked away as a free agent.

An astute hockey man, Uncle Lou recognized the need to bring in a first class coach to pull his team together. On June 18, Barry Trotz decided not to continue with the Washington Capitals after winning the Stanley Cup, due to a contract dispute. Lamoriello swooped in with a five year, $20M contract, almost tripling his annual salary with the Caps.

Most of us in the hockey world considered the signing equal to plugging the hole in the Titanic with a fine wine cork. We were dead wrong. The Isles have flirted with first place in the Metropolitan Division all season long. With a dozen games remaining, they have 89 points, only two back of the leaders in D.C. That is almost a miracle turn around, especially without Taveras to lean on.

We asked our panel of experts if Trotz should win the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s Coach of the Year.