The Islanders’ management makeover continues with perhaps the biggest new name added to the list since Barry Trotz signed up as head coach at the end of June.
The team has named Mitch Korn Director of Goaltending, a nebulous title for a guy who brings a reputation as one of the NHL’s premier goalie whisperers.
From the official release:
Korn spent the past season as the Director of Goaltending and three previous as Goaltending Coach, all with the Washington Capitals. During his time in Washington, the Capitals won two consecutive Presidents’ Trophies (2015-16 and 2016-17) and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup (2018). At the completion of the 2014-15 season, under Korn’s coaching, Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby finished with the most saves (1,887), played the most games (73) and finished second in wins (41). The following season, Holtby tied Hall of Fame netminder, Martin Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 victories and won the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the National Hockey League.
Korn first worked with Trotz in Nashville, where the goalie coach helped Pekka Rinne become a two-time Vezina finalist. Prior to that, Korn was the goalie coach for the Buffalo Sabres and worked with some guy named Dominik Hasek. He was pretty good.
On Monday, the Islanders named former AHL coach/possible wine magnate, shoe designer or racecar driver Piero Greco as their NHL goaltending coach, leading some to wonder if Korn was still a possibility. I guess the answer is yes. We’ll learn more about Korn’s role and responsibilities as the weeks roll on, but as Dom pointed out in that article, he had wanted to lighten his travel load with the Caps last season. We’ll assume he and Greco will work out some kind of schedule or something at some point. Chris Terreri remains the team’s AHL goalie coach.
So does this mean Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss can be penciled onto next season’s Metropolitan Division All Star team? Yeah, no. Lehner has been known as a talented but volatile commodity for a while now, and Greiss is coming off of the worst year of his career. If either guy can be half as good as Holtby or Rinne (or a third as good as Hasek) next season, consider it a job well done.
But adding executives with these types of pedigrees sure as hell can’t hurt, especially when you’re coming off a season allowing an astonishingly awful number of goals against. At least it means that when the meltdowns inevitably happen, we’ll be cursing at a higher class of coaches.