The New York Islanders have a taken a massive step forward in turning this franchise around. They hired Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz to be their next head coach.
New York Islanders owners put their money where their mouth is. According to reports around the league the New York Islanders have signed free agent head coach Barry Trotz to a multi-year deal believed to pay $4 million annually.
The former Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals head coach became a free agent after rejecting a two-year extension from the Capitals immediately after winning the Stanley Cup. The extension came with a $600,000 raise. To which Trotz said: "Thanks, but no thanks" (my words, not his).
The Islanders were the only team without a head coach and so the link to Trotz was obvious. But it wasn't a fait-accompli, the Isles still needed to pony up the money for the 2018 Stanley Cup winner. And apparently, they did
Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention, he won the Stanley Cup this season? I'm pretty sure I already said it.
What He Needs to Do
Just hiring Barry Trotz lets free agent John Tavares and everyone around the league know that these aren't the same Islanders anymore. These aren't the Islanders of the last 30 years that missed the playoffs 23 times. The Islanders are here to compete.
The new ownership group has put their money where their mouth is and backed up their quality first approach. They hired the best GM in the business, and they followed that up by paying to get the best available coach on the market.
But there's still work to be done on the ice for Barry Trotz. The Islanders finished with the worst defensive record in the NHL last season with 293 goals against. His first order of business will be to rework the Isles defensive strategy.
His second order of business is figuring out a proper penalty kill solution. Much like their defensive record, the Islanders were again the worst penalty kill unit in the NHL.
Hopefully, Lou Lamoriello can give Barry Trotz a new top-four defender and a starting goalie to help him. Two assets the Islanders desperately needed last season. With four picks in the first two rounds of the draft, Lou definitely has the assets to do so.
The summer just started and the New York Islanders have done a complete 180 almost overnight. It's a good time to be an Islanders fan. When was the last time you could say that out loud? 1983?