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New York Islanders 3 Things Learned in First Half of 2018-19

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 01: Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders handles bench duties against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 01, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders were playing in their first regular season game since April of 2015 when the team moved their home games to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Islanders defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 01: Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders handles bench duties against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 01, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders were playing in their first regular season game since April of 2015 when the team moved their home games to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Islanders defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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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) /

Coaching Matters

We all failed the coaching matters test. None of us considered how good this team could be with top notch coaching. Going into 2018-19 it seemed obvious that the New York Islanders couldn’t be any better than they were in 2017-18. How could they?

Losing a star center and with an influx of bottom six players, there wasn’t a way they got better offensively. Defensively things weren’t any better by losing a healthy Calvin de Haan to free agency and extending Luca Sbisa to what was the worst blue line in the NHL. The goaltending front wasn’t any more positive with the team going with Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, both of which were terrible in 2017-18.

We didn’t realize how huge of an impact that Barry Trotz and his staff could have on the Islanders lineup. We knew he was a defensive minded coach, and we knew that he had success out in Washington and in Nashville before that. The Islanders would undoubtedly improve under Trotz, but not like this. The Islanders didn’t have the same talent as the Capitals or the later years Predators.

It was going to take a miracle worker in order to transform the New York Islanders blue line virtually overnight. But that’s exactly what Barry Trotz has done with the Islanders. Seemingly overnight he brought the Islanders from the worst goals against in the league to the best.

We and the NHL public have learned that coaching matters and we probably won’t make that same mistake again.

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