That big splash you heard Monday morning was one of the NHL’s elite coaches who suddenly became a free agent. In a surprising move, the New York Islanders fired Barry Trotz after four seasons.
Islanders join Leaflets, as well as the Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets, as teams with vacant coaching positions. The Chicago Blackhawks currently have Derek King in an interim role. Just like the Florida Panthers with Andre Brown and the Edmonton Oilers with Jay Woodcrofteven though both are in the playoffs at the moment.
The Flyers announced last week that they would be looking for a new head coach. mike yeo served as interim for the rest of the season after the layoff of Alain Vigneault December 6.
So, is Barry Trotz’s entry into the free agent coaching market a game-changer for the Flyers? There are cases for both answers.
Clearly, Trotz comes with a solid resume. Assuming he is hired by another team this offseason, Trotz will continue a streak of 23 consecutive seasons in a head coaching role. At age 36, he took his first head coaching job with the then-expanding Nashville Predators, a position he held for 15 seasons.
After Nashville, Trotz coached the Washington Capitals for four seasons, culminating in a Stanley Cup championship in 2018. After that season, his contract ended and Trotz was hired by the New York Islanders, where he spent the last four seasons.
At this time, Trotz has a coaching record of 914-670-60-168. His 914 wins are the third in NHL history.
That makes Trotz another example of a head coach the Flyers have tried to succeed with in the past, one that comes with such a track record of success. In franchise history, the Flyers have employed five of the top 15 coaches in career wins. Vigneault was the newest of the group, which also includes Ken Hitchcock, Pierre Laviolette, Pat Quinnand Mike Keenan.
When you look at the current state of the Flyers, it’s fair to wonder why a coach like Trotz would even be a fit. One of the most winning coaches in NHL history certainly looks like the type of coach who is destined for a team more ready for that big leap into a successful run as a contender, not what the Flyers are in. this moment. This is why names like Rick Tochet, Jim Montgomeryand david quinn have been touted as possibilities, or why the Flyers might even be looking to go completely off the radar and hire someone with no previous NHL head coaching experience.
But Trotz has been one of the NHL’s successes throughout his career. He took the expansion of Nashville and made it into a hockey town, ultimately helping the team earn its first playoff victories from humble beginnings.
He took Washington, who had won three playoffs in the previous 15 years, over the hump and led them to the promised land in his fourth season with a Stanley Cup title. In the previous three seasons under Trotz, the Capitals reached the second round each season and suffered two losses in Game 7 in the second round.
He took the Islanders from almost useless, a team that’s only won one playoff series in 24 seasons, and in two years they’ve played hockey so structured that the only thing that’s kept them from making it to two Stanley Cup Finals was the double title. champions in Tampa Bay.
So if Trotz is up to the challenge, which is certainly his decision, he could be exactly the type of coach the Flyers need to promote a bigger defensive structure and become a team similar to what the Islanders were. over the previous two seasons and what the Capitals have become.
What about the financial situation? Well if David ScottThe “blank check” comments carry weight, money will not be an object in negotiations with Trotz. If the Flyers want him, they’ll do what it takes to try to get him. And there doesn’t seem to be any hesitation from the Flyers organization, despite the fact that they still have Vigneault “under contract” for two more seasons.
There’s no shortage of options for the Flyers when it comes to head coaching candidates. names like Jean Tortorelle, Paul Mauriceand Claudius Julian are already free agents. Joel Quenneville is another name floating around, as he would be interested in getting back behind the bench for a team, but that would certainly lead to controversy the Flyers don’t need right now. And there may be other teams in the NHL who currently have head coaches under contract who also enter the free agent pool – it’s possible. Bruce Boudreau decides not to return to Vancouver.
For the Flyers, it is absolutely necessary to call Trotz and at least inquire about his services. Anything short is organizational malpractice. But ultimately, it will be Trotz’s choice. Perhaps he would pick the Flyers thinking he could rise to the challenge and bring them back to the competition. If he is looking more for a winning situation now, he will almost certainly look elsewhere.
On the contrary, it could speed up the process for the Flyers in their search for a head coach, which is imperative anyway. For the Flyers to have at least some form of approach to the offseason, it would behoove them to hire a coach and know the style he brings behind the bench. This may influence some future decisions. Perhaps, if nothing else, Trotz entering the freelance coaching market is moving things forward for the Flyers in their search for coaches.
Kevin Durso is the Flyers Insider for 97.3 ESPN and the Flyers Editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.
Philadelphia Flyers uniforms through the years