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 without a first playoff appearance. The 59-year-old, who ranks among the most successful coaches in NHL history and won the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018, guided the Islanders to the Eastern Conference finals in each of the last two years before losing to eventual champions Tampa Bay .
Lamoriello declined to explain why he felt “a new voice” was necessary.
“I don’t want to get into any reason because the information I have and the experience I have in making these kinds of decisions is my job,” the 79-year-old longtime hockey executive said on a conference call. “Those are not questions that I will answer as much as I thought. It is clear that I put a lot of thought into making this kind of decision.”
A series of events outside Trotz’s control contributed to the Islanders missing out on the playoffs this year. As his new arena was coming to an end, he opened the season on a 13-game road trip and was hit with a string of coronavirus-related absences and injuries that derailed his season.
Lamoriello said the choice to move on from Trotz was not made primarily about what happened this past season. “It 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. He decided not to renegotiate Trotz’s contract despite the championship in the summer of 2018 allowing him his release.
A few days later, he was joined by the Islanders, who had just put Lamorillo in charge of a franchise that had not won a championship since the early 1980s dynasty. New York went 152–102–34 in the regular season and 28–21 in the playoffs under Trotz, the organization’s most success in more than two decades.
Lamoriello said Trotz’s contract status was not a factor in his decision. A message to Trotz’s agent seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Trotz can immediately become a candidate for vacancies in Philadelphia, Detroit and Winnipeg, as well as others that open because of his availability. Joining the Flyers, Trotz will remain in the Metropolitan Division, while Jet will represent the homecoming for the Manitoba native.
Trotz coached the Nashville Predators for his first 15 seasons, helping them reach the playoffs seven times. His 914 regular season ranks third among coaches in NHL history.
The Islanders begin a training search with the franchise in the middle of a competitive window. When asked what he was looking for a replacement for, Lamoriello said he could not answer specifically and said there was no timeline.
Lamorillo said the players had not been consulted about the firing, who only knew about the ownership, prior to reporting the news to Trotz on Monday morning.
“These kinds of decisions are made to move forward,” Lamoriello said. “With this group we have – and they are on notice right now – that the new voice is what is necessary for us to achieve success, in my opinion. And unfortunately or fortunately, I think these decisions should be What is the plan. “
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