The 56-year-old Manitoban passed legendary New York Islanders’ coach Al Arbour with his 783rd career victory last Monday. Interestingly enough, Trotz’s leapfrog win also came as Head Coach of the Islanders. After failing to agree upon a new contract with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals following the 2017-18 season, Trotz hit the open market and signed on with New York in June.
The victory over Buffalo last Monday was just Trotz’s 21st win with the Islanders – as compared to Arbour’s 740 victories on the Island – as the majority of his coaching thus far has been with the Nashville Predators (557 wins) and the Washington Capitals (205 wins). In his 20th year as an NHL bench boss, the former Head Coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons sits roughly 50 wins behind third place coach Ken Hitchcock (Edmonton). Trotz is still 459 victories behind the all-time winningest NHL coach Scotty Bowman.
Since coming over to New York, Trotz has already changed the culture and performance of the Islanders’ team significantly, helping improve the now John Tavares-less squad in a multitude of areas. The Islanders have jumped up to eighth-place in shot attempts against from 31st in 2017-18. They are now also in seventh-place from 30th in shots against. The Islanders are also first in both team save percentage and goals against per 60 minutes. They were previously in 31st and 29th-place in 2017-18 in those areas, respectively.
Currently sitting 12th in the league with a 23-13-4 record through 40 games, Trotz and the New York Islanders appear ready for battle in the season’s second half. Finding themselves fourth in the Metropolitan, behind Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus should give the Islanders extra motivation to maintain their newfound defensive structure moving forward.