The New York Islanders firing of head coach Barry Trotz Monday morning sent a shock through the fanbase. What’s next for Trotz? Who will take over behind the Islanders bench?
As one would expect, many teams have already shown interest in Barry Trotz. The 2019 Jack Adams award winner brought the Islanders to two straight Semi-Finals and had made the playoffs three consecutive seasons prior to the mess that was the 2021-22 season.
Per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Barry Trotz will take at least a week before making any decisions.
Trotz is from Manitoba, Winnipeg, and this season Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigned, stating that he was not the right voice for the team. Barry Trotz could be a perfect fit back home, which would likely be the 59-year-old’s last coaching spot, one would think.
Although Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon has not relieved his head coach Pete DeBoer of his duties, it’s likely coming sooner than later.
According to a league source, a few other teams that have shown interest in Barry Trotz reign from the Metropolitan Division in the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher relieved interim head coach Mike Yeo of his duties following the end of the regular season, which provides an opening for Trotz. Lindy Ruff is still the bench boss in New Jersey, but that does not mean general manager Tom Fitzgerald will not make a move at the coaching position before next season.
To be clear, every team that needs a new head coach or is thinking about making a change should inquire about Trotz and his interests.
As for what’s next for the New York Islanders as they hunt for a new head coach, I’ve been told that Paul Maurice and John Tortorella are two names that Lamoriello has looked into.
As mentioned above, 55-year-old Paul Maurice elected to step down as head coach of Winnipeg back in mid-December. Following his press conference, there was no timetable for him to return to coaching or what was next for him.
The name John Tortorella will not sit well with some or, even at this point, most hockey fans given his attitude towards the NHL game. Tortorella, an analyst for ESPN, has been adamant about how creativity is ruining the sport.
And with Mathew Barzal as a centerpiece on offense, hiring him may provide the wrong message.
John Tortorella is just a season removed from coaching behind an NHL bench, as he parted ways with the Columbus Blue Jackets after the 2020-21 season. He is a coach who preaches defense and blocking shots and has a very short leash.
Not mentioned by the source, but another name could be Pete DeBoer if fired by Vegas.
DeBoer has a connection with Lou Lamoriello, having coached in New Jersey (2011-2014) while Lamoriello was at the helm. Given how DeBoer handled former Islander netminder Robin Lehner towards the end of this season with certain comments, a DeBoer signing will not be one that the fans want to see.
Now, the New York Islanders have an internal option in associate coach Lane Lambert.
Lambert has been with Barry Trotz since the Nashville Predators days and this season filling in for Trotz when Trotz was in COVID-19 protocol and when he took a leave of absence after the passing of his mother.
In three games as the bench boss, Lamber went 2-1-0. He ran a bunch of practices during that full week off back in January and did not seem out of place at all. But would he be considered a “new voice”?
The decision by Lou Lamoriello to fire Barry Trotz could be catastrophic for the franchise if the right person is not brought in.
The Islanders have been able to turn their franchise around and have established themselves as a defensive-first hockey team that does damage when the postseason begins. But you need to perform well enough in the regular season to get there…obviously.
The new coach would need to play to the New York Islanders strengths and also needs to be hired in time to take part in offseason decision-making.
The situation is fluid, and when more information becomes available, NYI Hockey Now will keep you updated.