No, after all Lou Lamoriello didn’t search his gamers’ permission to dismiss Barry Trotz, are you kidding me?
But you additionally couldn’t be extra naive in case you imagine that suggestions elicited throughout the gamers’ exit conferences didn’t affect the Islanders’ supreme hockey chief’s determination to chop ties with the coach who had introduced the franchise its best run of success because the Dynasty.
Those conferences, in line with sources with information of the occasions, didn’t embody the specter of mutiny. But we’re informed that sufficient gamers — and ones who mattered — expressed frustration over the staff’s single-dimensional, safety-first, safety-last, grinding strategy to the 82-game marathon on this period by which high-end expert athletes dominate the common season.
Chances are that these conversations ratified Lamoriello’s impartial, eye-test evaluation moderately than opening his eyes to fissures which may have developed throughout this longest season.
When it involves Lamoriello and coaches, it’s by no means about what has been achieved previously. It is all the time about whether or not Lamoriello believes he has a coach who can take his staff to the subsequent degree. The subsequent degree all the time means the Stanley Cup.
Even although Trotz has already received one Cup, with Washington in 2018, that mattered about as a lot because it did to Lamoriello when he fired Larry Robinson in New Jersey a 12 months and a half after profitable the 2000 Cup.
Not coincidentally, there had been chatter over the ultimate weeks of the season that Trotz himself may need begun to really feel the identical method concerning the state of affairs whereas arising on the ultimate 12 months of his contract. Putting this into marital phrases, if Lamoriello had filed for the divorce, Trotz wouldn’t have contested it.
The drawback as I see it’s that Lamoriello equipped Trotz a roster crammed with gamers who are supposed to grind. For goodness’ sake, that is the staff that has the splendiferous Mathew Barzal, however attaches its literal identification to the trio of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. It shouldn’t be as if Lamoriello merely inherited the Identity Line. He has given all three members contract extensions throughout the final 16 months.
This couldn’t all be about Oliver Wahlstrom (not even primarily), however the Islanders must diversify. They want so as to add a younger risk for Barzal, who will change into a restricted free agent with arbitration rights following subsequent season and is simply two seasons away from unrestricted free company. Let’s hope the British Columbia native didn’t swath himself with Canucks pajamas when he was rising up.
The NHL shouldn’t be a growth league, however are any of the Islanders’ younger ability forwards creating satisfactorily? Is that instantly associated to the pinnacle coach or is there extra happening right here? Probably the latter.
I understood why Lamoriello left Jordan Eberle uncovered to be claimed within the enlargement draft by Seattle after the winger’s disappointing efficiency towards the Lightning in each the 2020 and 2021 Cup semifinals. But groups want gamers like Eberle, who rating straightforward targets in these video games by way of November, December and January that groups must win as a way to make the playoffs.
The Islanders missed Nick Leddy this 12 months. The defenseman was liable to the odd mistake or two (or three) within the playoffs, however might break down a forecheck or a entice by way of the common season, although he dedicated too many errors within the playoffs’ later rounds. And if we’re on defensemen, the cap-crunched determination to ship Devon Toews to Colorado for draft picks did no favor as pertains to diversifying the lineup.
Lamoriello is going through cap points. That doesn’t make him distinctive among the many NHL’s 32 normal managers. But it would take a good quantity of maneuvering to remake this roster, which at present contains 9 forwards age 29 or older, 4 of whom have modified no-move clauses.
Can Lamoriello make a play for pending free-agent winger Johnny Gaudreau? Maybe, but it surely received’t be straightforward. It in all probability received’t be any simpler if the Islanders rent Mike Babcock to exchange Trotz.
By the way in which, Babcock is the man who restricted the minutes of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in essential playoff video games with the Maple Leafs for … causes? Most of the Red Wings’ gamers believed he wore out his welcome effectively earlier than he went to Toronto, the place he labored underneath Lamoriello. Europeans, particularly, disliked enjoying for Babcock so intensely that they warned potential free brokers to not come to Detroit. That’s the man Lamoriello goes to show to?
Joel Quenneville is obtainable, although his hiring within the wake of his involvement within the Blackhawks’ cover-up of the Kyle Beach scandal may include a backlash. Would that resonate with possession or the fan base? Quenneville should be cleared to return behind an NHL bench by commissioner Gary Bettman.
St. Louis assistant Jim Montgomery, recovering from alcohol abuse points that price him his first NHL head teaching job in Dallas in 2018-19, is a possible candidate if Lamoriello conducts a job search. The GM absolutely has his record.
But if Lamoriello favors a higher-tempo type of play for 2022-23, then he must make adjustments in enjoying personnel, not simply behind the bench.