With the Islanders’ victory over the Washington Capitals in the 2020 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, they have made the second round of the playoffs two seasons in a row.
Barry Trotz has coached a team sculpted by Lou Lamoriello, that has become a playoff contender.
With all this success, it’s nice to take a look back on how it all came together.
On April 24th, 2016, John Tavares swung around the opposing goal and put the puck past Roberto Luongo to beat the Florida Panthers in the first round of that year’s playoffs. That was their first playoff series win since 1993, but their playoff run halted at the hands of the other team in Florida, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Since those playoffs, the Islanders had missed the next two postseasons, Jack Capuano was fired and replaced with Doug Weight (who was fired after his first full season), and Tavares decided to pack his bags for Toronto.
Those two years weren’t exactly the greatest for Islanders fans, and that’s not even mentioning the then ever-growing impatience with the then-GM Garth Snow and the Barclays Center.
It got worse when the three Stanley Cup victors from 2016-18 were all from the Metro division (Penguins 2x, Washington); but something happened that offseason… Washington did not renew the contract of head coach Barry Trotz, and the Islanders were in need of a head coach. Garth Snow was replaced with former Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, and his first big splash was signing Barry Trotz as head coach.
Oh man, has that been a good decision?
Even though the Isles lost players like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, they drafted players like Anthony Beauvillier and Calder winner Mat Barzal. They had also traded for Jordan Eberle to free agency, assembled some gnarly defensive pairs, and have been the beneficiary of some stellar goaltenders (2019 Jennings Trophy winner). But they needed that last piece to go to the playoffs, and that was Trotz. The pieces to the Islanders’ recent success didn’t all materialize under Lou and Trotz, but they definitely molded together and found their identity under them.
Now with J.G. Pageau in tow (thanks Lou), the Islanders can very much break through and reach their first Conference Finals since 1993.
Either way, it’s safe to say that the hiring of Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello has been a successful investment, and it will hopefully lead to a Stanley Cup victory.
Featured Image: ---