After winning the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals decided not to give Barry Trotz a lucrative extension. The Islanders are reaping the benefits now.
Current Islanders Head Coach, Barry Trotz has been a coach in the NHL since he was hired by Nashville in August of 1997. For 21 straight seasons, Trotz has been coaching in the league and is arguably one of the best coaches over that span.
His teams have made the playoff six years in a row, he’s made the playoffs 13 times as a coach in his career, and he has 845 wins as a head coach in the NHL. His 845 wins is good enough for fourth all-time, and he will likely catch Ken Hitchcock very early into the 2020-2021 season for third place.
The resume speaks for itself, it’s extremely impressive. Back in 2018, the Capitals were in the playoffs still looking to get over the hump of those second-round exits. Not only did they finally escape the second round, but they did it against Pittsburgh, the team that consistently bested them in the playoffs.
Washington would go on to win a grueling seven-game series against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final and then beat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games for the Cup.
Trotz was on the final year of his four-year contract at $1.5 million AAV. When he won the Stanley Cup, a clause in his contract triggered a two-year extension at a $300,000 pay raise per year. Still, at $1.8 million per year that’s insanely low comparatively.
Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, and Claude Julien (the three big-name coaches at the time) were all making over $5 million a year. Without a doubt, Trotz was undervalued so he decided to step down when the Caps refused to compensate him appropriately.
By the way, coaches salary doesn’t count towards the cap. You can pay a coach as much as the owner is willing to. They are the ones that sign the checks after all.
Trotz became a free agent, on June 18 and three days later he was hired by the Islanders who signed him to a five-year deal at $4 million per year. Since then, the team has done a complete 180.
In his two years as coach of the Islanders, he is 83-50-17 for a .610 points percentage. He had the Isles in the second round last year, and the Isles are one game away from making it back to back years into at least the second round.
The last time that happened was 1983 and 1984, the Islanders haven’t been to at least the second round in back to back years since they went to their fifth straight Cup.
The best part of all of this? Trotz is on the verge of advancing against the team that wouldn’t pay him. Todd Reirden got the nod instead of paying Barry Trotz, and it appears like the Capitals are about to exit in the first round for the second year in a row while Barry Trotz waltzes into round two, again.
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Islanders fans realize that none of this success is possible without Barry Trotz, and they have the Washington Capitals cheap owners to thank for that.