One of the biggest questions of the offseason was where Barry Trotz would go after being relieved of his coaching duties by New York Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello.
On Friday, we got our answer–nowhere.
In an exclusive interview with NHL Dot Com’s Tim Campbell, Barry Trotz shared that he would be taking the 2022-23 season off to focus on personal matters, citing that he did not want to sign with a team knowing he was not one-hundred percent committed.
“If I said I’ll take the job, I think I would have done any team a little bit of a disservice and myself a disservice because to be a coach in the NHL, it is demanding and it requires your all,” Trotz said in his interview with Campbell. “So I couldn’t go down that path.”
A respectable move by a respectable person.
Upon being fired by the Islanders, it seemed that Barry Trotz and the Winnipeg Jets were a match made in heaven. Winnipeg needed a coach after Paul Maurice stepped down in mid-December. And Barry, being from the province of Manitoba (City of Dauphin, 200 miles away from Winnipeg) he could represent his hometown team, while also being closer to family.
Earlier on Friday, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Trotz had informed Winnipeg of his decision to not accept their offer to coach, a rather difficult decision given how the interviews went and how close it was to friends and family.
Trotz was a top candidate for many teams, interviewing with not just the Winnipeg Jets, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings. Here is a timeline of all things Barry Trotz since he was fired prior to Friday’s news.
Friday was the first time Trotz had spoken to the media since being fired. He was asked by Campbell about the New York Islanders and what went down.
Trotz has no hard feelings towards Lou Lamoriello and made it perfectly clear that being fired did not impact his decision to take next season off.
“I totally understand everything and I have so much respect for Lou,” Trotz said. “I talked to him today. We’ve got a great relationship. That was not a factor at all.”
As for the Islanders failures this season, Trotz shared with Campbell that it was a weird season.
“I’ve been in the league a long time and you can only control what you can control and there was a lot of stuff that was out of our control.”
For the first time in over 25 years, Trotz is giving himself a breather, a chance to regroup, reflect and relax, and most importantly spend time with his family.
Say what you want about the system that was in place and how it may change now under Lane, the ability to pay attention to the littlest of details and the commitment to doing your job on a nightly basis is still what’s needed to win in this league. And it’s still what the New York Islanders will need to do in 2022-23.
It’s to be determined if Trotz will coach in the NHL again. If not, Trotz will end his coaching career with 1,812 regular-season games, winning 914 of them. He was behind the bench for 162 playoff games, winning 83 of them.
And in 2018, he was a Stanley Cup Champion with the Washington Capitals.
What Trotz did for the New York Islanders organization since arriving in 2018 was nothing short of spectacular. He took one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL and turned them into juggernauts. He went on two trips to the semi-finals, losing twice to the Tampa Bay Lightning in what were tough series.
Trotz gave the Islanders faithful a team to believe in again, regardless of what went wrong in 2021-22. And even though he is no longer the coach, the players on the island learned not only what it took to win, but the definition of commitment.
Although this is merely speculation, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Lamoriello knew that Trotz was not one-hundred percent committed to coaching, and instead of letting Trotz walk away with one year left on his contract, the move to fire Trotz allows him to still earn his $4 million salary.
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