If Steve Yzerman wants an experienced voice behind the Detroit Red Wings‘ bench, Barry Trotz just became a leading candidate.
In a surprise move from the New York Islanders, 10 days after the end of the season, general manager Lou Lamoriello fired Trotz with one year left on his contract on Monday.
“It would be a tremendous understatement to say this was not an easy decision,” Lamoriello said on a conference call. “Unfortunately it is my role to make the best decisions for the organization. … I believe this group of players needs a new voice.”
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Trotz, 59, won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Washington Capitals. He coached the Islanders to playoff appearances in each of his first three years with them, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 and 2021 before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders were projected to be a playoff team again this season, but they opened the season with a a 13-game road trip while their new arena was being finished, and then were hit with a string of coronavirus-related absences and injuries that derailed their season.
Trotz is known for his structurally sound teams.
Yzerman announced April 30 that Jeff Blashill’s contract would not be extended, citing a need for the team to play better defensively. Yzerman said the Wings “had regressed” with and without the puck in 2021-22.
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Yzerman did not put a time frame on hiring a new coach, beyond joking he wanted one in place before training camp. The expectation is Yzerman will have someone in place by the draft, which is July 7-8. Lane Lambert, an assistant with the Islanders and a former teammate of Yzerman’s, is also believed to be a candidate.
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