New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz won the Jack Adams Award, given to the coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success.
He beat out Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper and St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube for the prize on Wednesday.
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
Jack Adams Award winner Barry Trotz, who joined the @NYIslanders after leading Washington to the Stanley Cup the previous season, helped his new team post a 23-point improvement over 2017-18. Full Results: https://t.co/vBg1v8aNaM … #NHLAwards #NHLStats https://t.co/a0Ft9r86sI
Trotz led the Islanders to a 103-point campaign, ending a two-year playoff drought. New York gave up the fewest goals during the regular season (196) and led the league in save percentage (.925), headlined by a stingy defense and Robin Lehner's goaltending.
And unlike the Lightning, the Islanders weren't eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs, instead sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins and reaching the second round before being eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cooper was perhaps the favorite for this award after the Lightning recorded an NHL-best 128 points in the 2018-19 season, 21 more points than any other team. The Lightning's 62 wins tied them for the most in NHL history with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings, and their 128 points left them just four shy of the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens.
They scored 325 goals on the season, an amazing mark considering no other team reached 290. They had both the league's best power play, converting on 28.2 percent of their opportunities, and the best penalty kill (85 percent).
The Lightning's dominance made it all the more shocking when they were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs, a letdown of historic proportions.
As for Berube, he went 38-19-6 as the Blues' head coach after taking over on Nov. 19, earning an impressive 82 points in that span. St. Louis was ninth in power-play goals (50) and killed off 81.5 percent of opposing power plays, also ninth in the league.
He led the Blues into the postseason after the team's failure to qualify the previous year, guiding them all the way to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Both Cooper and Berube would have been worthy winners, but Trotz ending the Islanders' playoff drought behind the league's stingiest defense earned him the nod.