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
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs. New York Islanders (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Sean Treppedi, Contributor, Empire Writes Back

Where do we begin on the laundry list of reasons for Barry Trotz to win the Jack Adams Award this season? Trotz, who steered the ship in Washington to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history last year, hasn’t washed his hands since touching the hardware in June.

He has rebranded what was a bottom-feeding New York Islanders team to a legitimate competitor in the snap of a finger. The Islanders, who sit at second place in the Metropolitan with 12 games remaining, have been undisputedly the NHL’s biggest surprise this season. Moreover, when you look at them on paper, it just doesn’t make sense.

It’s simple: Trotz has induced a group of miscellaneous NHLers, whom Lou Lamoriello was able to swiftly assemble in the aftermath of the John Tavares departure, to buy all-in. They execute as one cohesive unit and can keep pace with the elites until they can wear them down and strike. What’s more impressive is the circumstances under which Trotz has managed to direct this team.

Between the Tavares hole, having no true number one goaltender and the arena toggling, Trotz has sustained a positive environment and eliminated distractions. Lest we forget, the Islanders featured a remarkably porous defensive unit just one year ago and today, they are as stiff as any. The nominations for the Jack Adams are a formality. Trotz locked it in his back pocket months ago.