Islanders Put Another Piece of the Puzzle in Place
Citing his knowledge, experience, and success, yesterday afternoon the Islanders announced that the organization had hired Barry Trotz as its new head coach. Trotz is likely making between $4 and $5 million per year to bring success to a team that has been mired in mediocrity or worse during the last 30 years. Over that period, the once storied franchise has made the playoffs only ten times and reached the conference finals only once (1992-1993).
However, the recent change in ownership and the possibility of the loss of its franchise player as moved the Islanders in a positive direction over the last few months. First, it was the hiring of Lou Lamoriello as President. Lamoriello, an experienced, successful GM, almost immediately took over that job from Garth Snow. Lamoriello then announced that he was in win-now mode and will do what it takes to achieve that goal.
Two things needed to happen to make this a reality; one was obviously to sign UFA John Tavares to a long-term deal. The other was to sign an excellent head coach. When the 2018 Stanley Cup-winning head coach Trotz announced earlier this week that he was leaving Washington, it seemed obvious that he would be coming to Long island (yes, Long Island–bear with me).
Trotz needed to be in the fold before the start of tonight’s NHL draft (when the Isles have eight picks, at least as of this morning) and so, the announcement was made. Now, Tavares has to be signed. Just in case Tavares is not convinced yet, expect management to make trades over the next two days to strengthen the current team. But, do not fret fans, Tavares will be signed–as will at least one other free agent in the July 1 frenzy. The Islanders have plenty of cap space for the 2018-19 season which, after yesterday’s announcement of the $79.5 million cap, is $32,759,167 (according to capfriendly.com, which indicates that the team has the most in the NHL).
In the meantime, in other happenings yesterday, the governor, yes, the governor of New York, announced that the islanders will play eight extra regular season games in the Nassau Coliseum this coming year. This will bring the total to 20 regular season games to be played on Long Island (thank you, governor, and all that were involved in this decision). I for one fully agree with his statement, “[w]e’re bringing the Islanders home to Long Island and to the fans who have supported their team for decades.”
Stay tuned, folks. These guys are not kidding around. Vegas showed us that a team can be a contender in one year, and the way the Islanders are starting to look, they could go from a non-playoff team to a Metropolitan Division powerhouse in that same amount of time.