The Islanders have been one of the most frustrated teams in the NHL this season, and Barry Trots has finally paid that price unexpectedly.
Lou Lamorielo, the islands’ president and general manager, fired Trotsky on Monday after the team failed to reach the playoffs, saying it was time for a “new voice”.
“It would be very trivial to say that it was not an easy decision to make,” Lamoriello told a news conference. “It’s a business decision in terms of hockey and winning.”
Lamorillo has made 21 coaching changes since being named general manager of the Devils in 1987 and has not shied away from replacing one big-name coach with another. He would not say what plans he had for the new leader on the bench, but in explaining the surprising move he made it clear that he wanted more from the current team.
“All we have to do is improve our young players,” he said, “and a more perfect year for our veterans than we did this year.”
Trotsky joined the Islands in 2018, a few months after he led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup Championship. In four years with the Islanders, he has a record of 152-102 win-loss appearances in the playoffs in his first three seasons, including appearing in the conference finals in 2020 and 2021.
After an impressive run in the 7th game of last year’s conference final against the final champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, the Islands seemed ready to rely on that performance and go even deeper. Instead, they endured a disastrous season that was full of obstacles from the start.
They opened 13 road games while waiting for the construction of their new home, UBS Arena, to be completed, and won only five of those games. Then the prolonged spread of the corona virus knocked down key players for a long time.
On the ice they could not fully recover after a slow start. They played better in the second half of the season but spent most of the year around 0.500 and finished 37-35-10 (84 points), which is good for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division.
In his 23 NHL season as head coach, Trots won 914 games in the regular season, third most after Scott Bowman at 1244 and Joel Cuneville at 969. He also won 83 playoff games and was twice named Coach of the Year, including the first. Season with the Islands when the team was 48-27-7 before losing to Carolina Hurricane in the second round of the playoffs.
“I want to thank Barry for everything he has done for the organization over the last four years,” Lamoriello said.