The NHL announced that New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy. The field is strong, but Trotz should win.
They were pronounced dead before the season started. With John Tavares out the door, the New York Islanders didn’t stand a chance in the 2018-19 season. No one factored the impact that Barry Trotz might have on the team.
With a strong defensive system and every single player buying into what Barry was preaching, the Islanders picked up 103 points on the season. Missing out on first place in the Metropolitan Division by a single point.
That turnaround earned Barry Trotz a ton of praise on Long Island and around the NHL. That praise has culminated in a
. He along with Jon Cooper and Craig Berube have been named as finalists for coach of the year.
The Field is Strong
Outside of the cup win, all we knew about Barry was that he was a defensive minded coach. Perfect. The one thing the Islanders needed was someone to show them how to play defense. Under Trotz’s predecessor, the Islanders finished with the worst defense in the NHL with 293 goals against.
In his first season with the team, Barry Trotz’s system shaved off over 100 goals from the Islanders record. The Isles goals against went from worst to first in a single season, the first team to do so since the 1919 Ottawa Senators.
That’s why Barry Trotz is being nominated for this award.
But his competition is strong.
Jon Cooper coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the second-best record in the NHL, ever. With 62 wins, the Bolts built a 128 point season. The next best team was 21 points behind the Lightning.
Say what you want about the talent that was at Tampa’s disposal, but Cooper still had to find a way to get that talent to work. Barry Trotz has a strong argument to win, but so does Jon Cooper.
Craig Berube is only an interim coach in St. Louis after Mike Yeo was fired on November 19th. In 63 games this season, Berube got the Blues out of the basement and into the playoffs with a 38-19-6 record. An incredible job by the former NHL vet.
It’s a strong field, but the work that Barry Trotz has done to turn this team around has been nothing short of remarkable. He has to be the favorite to win the award. The PHWA, who vote on the award, love nothing more than a good story, and Barry Trotz turning a team around that was so far out of the picture is one heck of a story.