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New York Islanders Barry Trotz Jack Adams Front Runner

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22: Head coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals speaks after winning the Jack Adams Award for top head coach at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22: Head coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals speaks after winning the Jack Adams Award for top head coach at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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At the halfway point of the 2018-19 season, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz is the top name on media members Jack Adams trophy list. For good reason.

After 41 games into the New York Islanders 2018-19 season, they sit with a 23-14-4 record for 50 points. They’re a single point out of a wildcard position and a single point out of third in the Metropolitan Division, with games in hand on both of them.

No one expected the Islanders to be where they are now. I had them being slightly better than they were last season. I figured an 83-85 points return could be achieved with their lineup and with Barry Trotz behind the bench. I was wrong.

With 50 points in 41 games, the Islanders are on pace for a 100 point season. A return that has to have them in the playoff picture. A huge factor in that is Barry Trotz.

The 2018 Stanley Cup winning coach is receiving praise for his work from members of the media as they vote for him as the early favorite for the coach of the year award; the Jack Adams Trophy.

Early Favorite

The NHL asked 20 of its writers who should win the Jack Adams trophy based on what they’ve done halfway through the season. Barry Trotz was the front runner with 76 of an available 100 points.

Since coming to Long Island, Barry Trotz has single handily revamped the Islanders defense. They’ve gone from the absolute worst defensive team in the league with 296 goals against in 2017-18 to holding the third-best defensive record with 111 goals against through 41 games. And it’s not like he got a brand new batch of blue liners to help him out either.

On paper, the New York Islanders defensive core got weaker over the summer. They lost top-four defenseman Calvin de Haan and brought in free agent Luca Sbisa. That’s not a one-for-one swap. De Haan is playing top-four minutes with Carolina while Sbisa has spent 90 percent of the season in the press box.

It makes sense that Barry Trotz is leading his peers as the front-runner for coach of the year.

Counter Arguments

One argument against Trotz is to say that other coaches are perhaps more deserving. Jon Cooper out in Tampa has his team steamrolling the NHL. Yes, its a better squad then the Islanders but he still has to manage that talent and get it to work, with a 33-8-2 record, he’s doing just that.

Bill Peters, in his first year with the Calgary Flames, is taking a good team that missed the playoffs last season to the top of the Western Conference.

The other argument that is being made is that PDO, thus luck, is what has Barry in line for his second Jack Adams trophy.

We’ve seen it before. Teams ride a wave of luck to the playoffs when they had no right being there. With a 102.3 PDO, the Islanders have the third highest luck rating in the NHL. The argument fits.

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Barry Trotz absolutely deserves this recognition. What he’s been able to do, again, with the very same crew that Doug Weight had at his disposal is a good enough argument for me to get the award.

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