Following his departure from the Washington Capitals, one of the immediate straight lines drawn was for Barry Trotz to be heading to the New York Islanders. They had a vacancy and presumably the desire to bring in a coach with a winning pedigree to not only give the fans some hope but to convince a certain franchise centre to stick around.
The deal was made official on Thursday as Trotz was announced as the next head coach for the New York Islanders. While terms weren’t immediately disclosed by the team, word from Don Brennan was five years at $4-million per season. Remember, his two-year automatic extension with the Caps would have been two years at $1.8-million per season. That’s a pretty hefty raise.
What can fantasy owners expect with Trotz?
Well, when we think of Caps teams of recent seasons, we think of their power play. But the power play was definitely not an issue for the Islanders in 2017-18. In fact, their goals per 60 minutes on the PP was slightly higher than Washington’s. One thing he did do was lean more on his top unit than in seasons past, at least by PP TOI per game. Assuming all their core forwards return, this could mean an extra 30 or so seconds per game for the likes of John Tavares and Anders Lee, with 30 or so fewer seconds per game for the likes of Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s enough for someone like Eberle to lose 3-5 power-play points just through those 30 seconds a game alone. Given the quality of the first unit, I don’t see why Trotz would change his usage strategy.
I am also expecting stability in where players are used. Quite honestly, things didn’t change that much for Washington’s top-6 forward mix last year. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom switched centre roles later in the year, different left wingers were tried on the second line until they eventually settled with Jakub Vrana, but that was about it. There shouldn’t be much concern about someone like Josh Bailey or Eberle losing their roles unless they absolutely tank.