How do you grade a coach? For the other report cards, we relied on analytics to help us form an opinion on the New York Islanders skaters and goalies. Doing so allowed us to take an unbiased approach to grade a specific player's performance.
But there isn't data available for a coach's performance on the year so this is going to be a little more challenging.
This is a continuation of the player, management, and team-level report cards that we started this offseason. You can read the other ones here:
Management: Lou Lamoriello
Goalies: Ilya Sorokin | Semyon Varlamov
Defense: Sebastian Aho | Zdeno Chara | Noah Dobson | Scott Mayfield | Adam Pelech | Ryan Pulock
Forwards: Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Anthony Beauvillier | Kieffer Bellows | Casey Cizikas |Cal Clutterbuck | Anders Lee | Brock Nelson | Matt Martin | Kyle Palmieri | Jean-Gabriel Pageau |Zach Parise | Oliver Wahlstrom
Team Level: New York Islanders
New York Islanders 21-22 report cards: Barry Trotz
Maximized Roster: D
I guess the first place to start is seeing if Barry Trotz got the most out of his lineup. The GM is responsible for getting the coach a group of players and it's the coach's job is to milk as many wins out of that group as possible.
I can't say Trotz did that. And I'm sure you agree with that. What players did Trotz maximize this year? Noah Dobson and Brock Nelson? Honestly, that's about it. And even then, you could argue that Trotz set Nelson on this path a few years ago and Trotz wasn't directly responsible for Nelson's uptick this year.
Some players even took a step back this season. Oliver Wahlstrom certainly rings a bell. I know Wahlstrom himself deserves a portion of that blame (it's not all on Barry), but Trotz also earns some blame. He wasn't able to coax the right response out of Wahlstrom and I'd go as far as saying he stubbornly didn't want to change his approach.
It's great that Dobson was able to take that step up and honestly, it's likely the only reason he gets a passing grade.
What I'm looking at here is did Trotz rely on some players more than he should have? Based on the group he had, I don't think he did too bad here. This is his top four D and top 6 forward by average ice time (all situations):
Dobson - 21:27
Pelech - 21:16
Pulock - 21:08
Mayfield - 19:46
Barzal - 18:01
Nelson - 17:40
Pageau - 17:40
Bailey - 16:53
Beauvillier - 16:49
Lee - 16:37
I think looking back at the opening day roster this is basically how you'd draw up the Isles top4 D and top6 forwards. With maybe one exception. Bailey shouldn't have been the top utilized winger. The fact that he was speaks to the lack of true top-line options.
I understand Bailey is utilized in all three situations. But he probably shouldn't. His reliance on the power play should have been diminished from last year. The fact that he is, is on Barry and his coaching staff.
Knowing the team that Barry had going into the year did he tailor his system to their strengths? I don't think so. We know that the team Barry was given this year wasn't speedy. Nor were they the most talented. Doubling down on his defense-first system made some sense.
But then again, there's no way this team was going to be able to soak up all that defensive pressure without conceding the number of goals they did. He had to find a way relieve some of that D-zone pressure. He didn't and boy did the Islanders suffer.
I gave him a C+ here because I feel a few circumstances were outside of his control.
Final Grade: C
We know the result of the season wasn't why Barry Trotz was fired. But he didn't have an excellent year.