Barry Trotz is just a single win away from winning a Stanley Cup, the head coach on the cusp of delivering the Washington Capitals with their first championship in franchise history. But his time in the nation's capital might just be up.
The long-time coach of the Nashville Predators, now in his fourth season with the Capitals, is at a crossroads with an organization that hasn't exactly shown him an abundance of loyalty.
Directing one of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference, which includes generational scorer Alex Ovechkin, Trotz had been unable to deliver a title despite winning two-straight President's Trophies for accruing the most points in the NHL.
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Despite three-straight Metropolitan Division titles in the last four regular seasons, the consensus surrounding Trotz —whose contract expires once Washington's season ends — was that he'd be shown the door if the Capitals didn't win it all.
That's not the kind of stability or loyalty any head coach would like, especially one who has recorded four-straight 100-plus-point seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Capitals had just seven 100-point seasons in its first 40 years of existence.
So there is a legitimate chance that the 55-year-old could lift the Stanley Cup as his final act as Capitals head coach and hit the free-agent market for a new team.
As luck would have it for the New York Islanders, they are the only NHL franchise with a vacancy at its head-coaching position.
New Islanders president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello, just three weeks on the job, relieved general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties on Tuesday after another playoff-less season in which the team finished seventh in the Metropolitan Division.
It's a big move that the Islanders franchise isn't accustomed to as it has remained stagnant over the past 20-plus seasons behind inactive owners and front-office members. Lamoriello though, who built the Devils into three-time Stanley Cup champions and helped retool the Toronto Maple Leafs into a dangerous Eastern Conference contender, brings a track record of success and legitimacy to the organization.
With Snow out of the picture, it will be the 75-year-old Lamoriello who will assume GM responsibilities and find a new head coach.
If he is able to re-sign John Tavares to a long-term contract, acquire a legitimate No. 1 goalie and some much-needed defensive help, the Islanders suddenly become a very attractive team for a well-established head coach like Trotz to come in and take over.