Former Washington Capitals and current New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was named an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Cooper will be the head coach of the team while Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer and Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will join Trotz as assistants on Cooper’s staff.
Trotz led the Islanders to their second consecutive third round appearance in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they fell to Cooper’s Lightning for the second consecutive season in seven games. The Islanders finished the season fourth in the East Division with a 32-17-7 record.
Trotz was an assistant on Mike Babcock’s staff during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where Canada won the tournament.
Under Trotz from 2014-18, the Capitals went 205-89-34 (.677 points percentage), made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Trotz’s four seasons, and won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
After a contract dispute with the Capitals, Trotz became the fifth coach in NHL history not to return to their team after winning the Stanley Cup. Trotz wanted a five-year contract worth $25 million ($5 million AAV) while the Capitals wanted him to stick to the two-year contract extension worth $3.9 million ($1.8 million AAV) that kicked in after the team had won the Stanley Cup, an agreement the two sides had reached when Trotz joined the Capitals in 2014. The Capitals agreed to let Trotz go after he refused to honor his original commitment.
Despite losing captain and star center John Tavares, Trotz’s system got the Islanders within one point of the Capitals for the Metropolitan Division title in his first year as head coach. He also transformed a defense that allowed the most goals in the NHL (3.57 goals-against average per game in 2017-18) to the fewest (2.33 this season) despite the fact that the Islanders also lost defenseman Calvin de Hann in free agency. Trotz and the Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs before getting swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. Trotz won Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year in his first season with the Islanders.
Despite a turbulent regular season in 2019-20 that saw the team finish seventh in the Eastern Conference in large part of a 15-0-2 run. If you take the run out, the Islanders were 20-23-8 last season. However, the NHL pause helped them arguably more than any other team as they came just two wins shy of the Stanley Cup Final as they ran circles around Reirden’s Capitals in five games in the first round and defeated the first-seeded Flyers in seven in the second. This season was arguably the Islanders’ best under Trotz as they went 32-17-7 in the regular season (their .634 points percentage was the highest of the three seasons under Trotz). Their goals-against average of 2.23 per game and penalty-killing rate of 83.7% this season were also their best out of three seasons under Trotz. They advanced to the third round for the second time in as many seasons.
The Winter Olympics will take place from Friday, February 4 to Sunday, February 20.
By Harrison Brown