Islanders Fire Barry Trotz as Head Coach After Missing 2022 NHL Playoffs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

ELMONT, NEW YORK - MARCH 03: Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders speaks with the media prior to the game against the Vancouver Canucks at the UBS Arena on March 03, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders announced Monday they have fired head coach Barry Trotz.

New York finished fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 84 points. The Islanders saw their points percentage fall from .634 in 2020-21 to .512 in 2021-22 as they missed the postseason for the first time since 2018.

"It's my role to make the best decision for the organization going forward and I believe this group of players needs a new voice, it's in no way negative on Barry Trotz," general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters of the decision.

Lamoriello alluded to other factors at play without providing specifics:

Kevin Maher @KMaherNews12

Lamoriello says this is a "business decision" in relation to winning and hockey.

Joe Pantorno @JoePantorno

Lamoriello: "This decision wasn't just primarily made on just this season." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Isles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Isles</a>

Absent more context, the move is puzzling.

Trotz made an immediate impact with the franchise, having taken the job in 2018-19 on the heels of his Stanley Cup triumph with the Washington Capitals. 

The Islanders reached the Eastern Conference Finals in his second season, where they lost to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. The next year, they were in the semifinals again, where the Lightning again got the better of them en route to the Stanley Cup.

Mike J. Asti @MikeAsti11

It seems like only yesterday Trotz, a Stanley Cup winning coach, was leading the Islanders on a franchise resurrection and a Conference Finals appearance. That was also only two years ago, literally speaking. <a href="https://t.co/E8ubRWMsKY">https://t.co/E8ubRWMsKY</a>

New York fell short of expectations this year. Bleacher Report's Lyle Fitzsimmons ranked the team seventh in the league as training camp was getting underway.

But the Islanders had to deal with a 13-game road trip to open the year and experienced a COVID-19 outbreak midway through. Placing all the blame on Trotz for a 37-35-10 record would be unfair.

John Chandler @JohnChandlerNBC

The Islanders reached the doorstep of the Stanley Cup Final under Barry Trotz, but fell flat this year when a Cup was the expectation. The 13-game road trip, Covid outbreaks, not enough scoring - a lot of factors. <a href="https://t.co/sdnEEH5WcW">https://t.co/sdnEEH5WcW</a>

Now that he's on the open market, the 59-year-old figures to be in high demand.

Michael Baumann @MichaelBaumann

Barry Trotz if you come coach the Flyers I will personally take you house shopping in Voorhees

Vinnie Parise @VinnieParise

What a bunch of dumb idiots the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Isles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Isles</a> are. <br><br>I would hire Barry Trotz RIGHT NOW if I were the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NJDevils?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NJDevils</a>. They would run such a great system that shuts down opponents while guys like Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Nico Hischier can still be creative offensively. <br><br>Wow.

Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus

Barry Trotz turned the worst defensive team in the league into a top-5 defensive team in the league in his first year with the Islanders. Gotta think he rockets to the top of the Blackhawks' wish list, unless, of course, tanking next season is on the table (which it might be!).

In New York, the pressure is squarely on Lamoriello. Beyond firing Trotz, he has invested heavily in the current roster, leaving the front office with limited flexibility.

Absent a way to make a meaningful upgrade to the squad, a coaching change is one way to shake things up. But for many fans, that's unlikely to justify moving on from somebody who delivered the success Trotz did.