Two months ago, did you envision reading this sentence on June 19?
New Islanders Boss of Hockey Lou Lamoriello is speaking with Stanley Cup-winning head coach Barry Trotz today about becoming the Islanders' next coach.
Feels good to be back in the major leagues, right?
Lamoriello has spoken with a few candidates over the last month, but as you read this, he is considering the candidacy of Barry Trotz. The question - which will be answered in a matter of days, if not hours - is, are Lamoriello and Trotz, at this moment in time, a match?
For the GM, he needs to see if the coach's philosophy is in sync with his.
For the coach, there should be no mistaking what this is all about.
Barry Trotz wants to get paid.
And darn right he should. After working for a long time in small-market Nashville and then leading the Capitals to the Stanley Cup two weeks ago, Trotz knows he is now in position to earn a long-term contract at a minimum of $4 million a year.
Even if I believed he was a bit overrated until…well, about a month ago, Trotz is the best and most accomplished coach available on the market, and he will be a year from now. Is he going to forego the likelihood of having a choice of teams in the coming year, in order to take the one available job now? And under Lamoriello, whose hiring and firing history has been so unique? That would be mildly surprising, which is why some insiders believe Trotz may start the upcoming season spending quality time with family. (Also consider that I was the dope who didn't believe Trotz and the Caps would break up over $).
Just as the Trotz-to-the-Islanders news escalated quickly, so will this process. One way or another, a decision will be made very soon. Possibly before the end of the night.
Two last points…
- In the decade of Scott Gordon and Jack Capuano, the Islanders had the lowest-paid coaches in the NHL - likely by a large margain. If Trotz gets $4-5 million a year on a five year-deal, he would be making for the duration of his contract far more than Islanders coaches in the 24 years since Al Arbour left combined were paid.
- Let's be clear: A Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz tandem would be a complete, uncontestable victory for the New York Islanders. Imagine ever complaining about this? Lamoriello and Trotz would re-establish the Islanders as a legitimate franchise for the first time in a long time. Professionalism. Credibility.
No matter how this shakes out, it's good to know the New York Islanders have returned to the major leagues -- to trying to be the best.