New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has won his second Jack Adams award as the NHL’s coach of the year. The award was presented Wednesday night at the league’s awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
Trotz thanked the Islanders ownership, general manager Lou Lamoriello, the players, his family and more.
“This is a team award — you have to understand that — from a coach’s standpoint,” Trotz said. “The staff, the players, you can’t have success in this league without buy-in from the players, from leadership.”
He also credited his coaching peers. “This league just keeps getting better,” he said, noting the coaches push each other and the players keep raising the level of play.
In his first year with the Islanders after leading the Washington Capitals to the 2018 Stanley Cup, Trotz guided the team on a 23-point leap to 103 points in 2018-19 and a first-round sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A big part of that was the priority he announced upon his hiring: Improving the team’s commitment and structure for its overall defensive approach. The result: the Islanders went from allowing the most goals in the league in 2017-18 (296) to the fewest in 2018-19 (196). They are the second team in NHL history to do so.
Perhaps his biggest achievement was getting full buy-in from the players, who sang his praises for this award and followed his lead all season long:
“He does a good job of communicating to the guys with what he wants. There’s no grey area in our system,” said Jordan Eberle for the official team site. “He just makes it easy for us to understand it.”
Trotz is the rare coach to win the Adams award with two different teams. He last won in 2016 after leading the Capitals to a President’s Trophy as the top team in the league during the regular season.
He is the first Islanders coach to win the award since legendary dynasty coach Al Arbour, who received it in 1978-79.