Barry Trotz was fired as coach of the New York Islanders on Monday, with general manager Lou Lamorillo saying he felt the team needed a new voice.
Trotz lost his job after four seasons with the Islanders and the first without the supplement. The 59-year-old, who is among the most successful coaches in NHL history and won the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018, led the Islanders to the Eastern Conference Finals in each of the past two years before losing to eventual champion Tampa Bay.
Lamoreello refused to explain why he thought a “new voice” was necessary.
“I’d rather not go into any of the reasons because that’s my job based on the information I’ve got that I’ve tested to make that kind of decision,” the 79-year-old hockey executive said on a conference call. These are not questions I will answer as often as I thought. I obviously thought quite a bit about making this kind of decision.”
A series of events beyond Trotz’s control contributed to the islanders’ absence from this year’s playoffs. As their new arena was nearing completion, they opened the season on a 13-game wild ride and had a string of coronavirus-related absences and injuries that derailed their season.
Lamoreello said the choice to move from Trotz was not made primarily around what happened last season. He said, “This is definitely a business decision in terms of hockey and winning.”
Trotz had one year left on his contract, which would have put him in the same position he was in with the Capitals. In the summer of 2018, they decided not to rework Trotz’s contract despite the championship and granted him his release.
Days later, he joined the Islanders, who had just put Lamorillo in charge of a franchise that hadn’t won a championship since the early 1980s. New York went 152-102-34 in the regular season and 28-21 in the playoffs under Trotz, the biggest success for the organization in more than two decades.
Lamoreello said Trotz’s contract status did not affect his decision. The letter sent to Trotz’s agent for comment was not immediately returned.
Trotz can immediately become a candidate for job vacancies in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Winnipeg, as well as others opening due to availability. Joining the Flyers will keep Trotz in the D.C. division, while the Flyers will mark a Manitoba native’s homecoming.
Trotz coached the Nashville Predators in their first 15 seasons, helping them reach the playoff seven times. His 914th regular season victories ranks him third among coaches in NHL history.
Islanders in search of training begin with the franchise in the midst of the competition window. When asked what he was looking for in a replacement, Lamoreello said he could not answer specifically and added that there was no timetable.
Lamoreello said the players had not been consulted about the shooting, which was only known to the property before he broke the news to Trotz on Monday morning.
“These kind of decisions are being made going forward,” Lamoreello said. “With this group we have – and they are now aware – that a new voice is necessary for us to succeed, in my opinion. And unfortunately or fortunately, it is my opinion that should make these decisions.”
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