On Monday, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello relieved head coach Barry Trotz of his duties. This was not a move that many saw coming after what was a difficult year for everyone in the New York Islanders organization, but the decision was made.
Lamoriello addressed the media shortly after the information was shared by the team.
“I’d like to thank Barry for everything he’s done for the organization over the last four years, Lou Lamoriello said. “It would be a tremendous understatement to say that this was not a difficult decision to make. It is my role to make the best decisions for the organization going forward, and I believe that this group of players needs a new voice.”
Shocking words from Lamoriello, the need for a new voice, but it’s clear that something was off with the team in the dressing room. There were certainly times this season when it seemed like the Islanders were not responding well to the actions of Trotz but again, in what was the craziest season in quite some time and certainly did not seem to be the prime issue.
But Lamoriello made it clear that this was not a decision that was made solely based on this past season.
“Any type of decision like this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s over a period of time. All the extenuating circumstances that transpired this year that was uncontrolled… is taken into consideration,” Lamoriello said. “I’d rather not get into any of the reasons because that’s my job based on the information that I have and I experience to make these types of decisions.”
As of what is next, the Islanders will be looking for a new head coach. “Each and every one of our assistant coaches are under contract for next year, and we’ll address everything appropriately,” Lamoriello said when asked if assistant coach Lane Lambert could be up for the position. “The new coach will have a voice in any decision that is to be made if they are to be made.”
Since arriving to Long Island back in 2018, Barry Trotz brought the New York Islanders to the postseason in three of his four seasons, reaching the Semi-Finals in back-to-back seasons (2020-21). His defensive style of play showed to be dominant in the postseason, yet was a system that did have flaws in the regular season, especially this past season.
Despite the defensive struggles, the system and game plan remained the same.
Even with all the obstacles that came the Islanders’ way in 2021-22, the team severely underperformed. Barry Trotz had spoken this season, especially halfway through the season, that he had to be better.
The Islanders finished the 2021-22 season with 37-35-10, 16 points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Trotz admitted halfway through the season that he may have had a longer leash for certain players who did not deserve it while shorter leashes for others. The handling of 21-year Oliver Wahlstrom comes to the forefront a potential reason for the firing, but of course, not the full reason.
In four seasons as head coach of the New York Islanders, Barry Trotz went 152-101-34 in the regular season, 49-28-21 in the postseason, and won the Jack Adams trophy in 2019.
“I think the record over the past four years speaks for itself… We’re very appreciative of that… These types of decisions are made for going forward, not for the backward,” Lamoriello said. “With this group we have, and they’re on notice right now, that new voice is necessary to have success… My opinion is what makes these decisions.”