Two years ago today, the New York Islanders hired Barry Trotz to be their next coach.
On this date in 2018, the New York Islanders were able to get Barry Trotz to sign a five-year deal to be the coach of this team. When Lou Lamoriello came in and decided to part ways with Garth Snow and Doug Weight, change was expected but change like this, was just a dream.
Literally two weeks prior to his hiring, Trotz hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career. Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, who had notoriously been labeled as chokers in the playoffs, got over the hump and took home the Cup.
A Stanley Cup-winning coach to coach the Islanders. That has literally never happened before for the Islanders unless you count Al Arbour’s return to coaching.
Before joining the Islanders, Trotz finished with a points percentage of .500 or better in 13 of the last 14 years. For a franchise that almost never has stability, this was a huge move and boy did it pay off instantly.
As we know, the John Tavares negotiations went south and he suddenly remembered that he had a boyhood dream of playing for the Leafs after telling Islanders fans he wasn’t leaving for a half-decade.
Anyway, the 2018-2019 Islanders were supposed to be a laughingstock. There was an article from Deadspin that was literally titled “A 2018-19 NHL Season Preview of Ever Team, From Best To Islanders”
Well, the Islanders went 48-27-7, with 103 points, the most amount of points in a season since 1984. They finished in second place in the division and it was Trotz’s fifth year in a row with 100+ points to his name. They would advance to the second round of the playoffs with a roster that featured Tom Kuhnhackl on the second line. Oh, and he won the Jack Adams, can’t forget that.
Barry Trotz put the team on his back, that roster had no business finishing where it did. Then, this past year, the Isles rip off a 17 game point streak and finish the regular season with 80 points in 68 games, a pace of 96 points.
Yes, in the final couple of months of the regular season the team really struggled, but everyone knows that’s not on Barry. As he said after the season in 2019, they need more “pop upfront”. In 150 games, Trotz is 83-50-17 with the Isles for a .610 win percentage.
It’s a small sample size, but Trotz has the best win percentage by far. Al Arbour, who coached the team for 20 years, had a .568 win percentage is the next closest just to put that into perspective.
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You could make a legit case that he’s the best coach in the NHL, and he’s under contract with the Isles for three more years. This team is in perfect hands behind the bench, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that there’s a better coach for this team.