Only 38 games into his career as the New York Islanders coach, it’s pretty clear that Barry Trotz is already the second-best coach in team history.
Last night, Barry Trotz surpassed former New York Islanders coach, Al Arbour, in All-Time Wins as a coach. Barry is now fourth all-time and trails Ken Hitchcock by just 49 wins for third, an impressive accomplishment for Trotz who has 20 years experience coaching in the league.
With Barry passing Al last night it got me thinking about past Islanders coaches. Honestly, I don’t think it’s all that crazy to say that Barry Trotz is already the second-best coach in Islanders history.
Obviously, Al Arbour will forever be number one. He coached the Islanders for 20 years winning four Stanley Cups along the way while appearing in another. Five consecutive trips to the Cup and four Cup wins in a row is going to be difficult to top.
To Islanders fans, there is nobody else, and with all due respect to Barry Trotz, who would admit the same thing himself, he doesn’t deserve to surpass a coach like Arbour in terms of all-time rankings.
It’s after Al where there isn’t much of a case for putting anyone ahead of Trotz. In June, we ranked all 16, at the time, coaches in Islanders history.
After Al Arbour, we decided to put Peter Laviolette, who is still coaching in the league and has a ton of success. Laviolette took the Islanders to the playoffs both years he was here before Mike Milbury foolishly let him go.
He would go on to coach the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup victory in 2006, the Flyers to a Cup Final appearance in 2010, and the Predators to the Cup Final in 2017. With 594 wins under his belt, a .588 win percentage over his career it’s hard to pick anybody else.
Even with Laviolette’s impressive .546 points percentage with the Islanders, third in their history if you count Trotz’s, it’s still not enough to jump in front of Barry.
Look at what Trotz was handed. A team that missed the playoffs two years in a row, a team that lost its star captain in free agency, and a team that needed a rebuild. That team is now 21-13-4 and very much alive in the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture.
The Islanders with this roster should be a lottery team. Under Trotz, they’ve allowed the fewest goals in the league after the most last year with 296. The Isles also had the fourth-worst save percentage in the league last year. So far this year they are tied for the best save percentage in the league with a .917.
That kind of turn around is unheard of. Barry Trotz has immensely changed the trajectory of the New York Islanders and Isles fans should soak up every second of it.