New York Islanders
Trotz’s Interview Timeline, 2 Teams Make Decisions
On Tuesday, two NHL head coaching vacancies were filled while ex-New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz is still without a home.
ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, doing his usual videos from random points on Google Maps, broke the news that the Vegas Golden Knights had hired Bruce Cassidy, who was relieved of his duties eight days ago by the Boston Bruins brass. Later on in the night, Weekes also shared that the Philadelphia Flyers had offered John Tortorella the job to become their next head coach after being an analyst with unpopular opinions on ESPN for the last year.
When New York Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello relieved Barry Trotz of his duties on May 9, he was considered the best coach on the market.
Trotz’s landing spot seemed obvious. During the 2021-22 season, Trotz dealt with some personal matters, such as the loss of his mother. His parents had been living in his home province of Manitoba, and it was evident how important his family was to him and how that would play a deciding role in where he ended up.
Coincidentally, the Winnipeg Jets are in need of a head coach, and for a team caught in no-mans-land, they need a coach that knows what it takes to get over a hump.
Just eight days after his firing, on May 17, Trotz was in Winnipeg for an interview per Sportsnet’s Eliotte Friedman.
While we do not know the lasting impression that Trotz left on Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, the fact that he is not already there means there are more layers to Trotz’s decision.
Let’s be honest. The cards are in Trotz’s hand.
On May 24, Trotz interviewed with the Philadelphia Flyers, who relieved interim head coach Mike Yeo of his duties come season’s end. Yeo took over in late December after Alain Vigneault was fired. Bill Meltzer, who covers the Flyers for NHL Dot Com and is a contributor to Hockey Buzz, shared that Barry Trotz had three meetings with the Flyers, two on Zoom and one in person.
Meltzer also shared that Trotz wants to be play more of a role in hockey ops for whichever team he joins, which could be why he is still on the market.
It certainly is a viable reason for why the Flyers chose Tortorella over Trotz, even when Trotz was their no. one option per Meltzer–or the reason why Trotz did not choose Philadelphia.
Although we do not know the conversations Trotz had with Lamoriello before he was relieved of his duties, a good assumption is that Trotz was not completely sold on the direction of the organization and potentially wanted more of a say in the higher up decision-makings. But it’s Lamoriello’s ship and Trotz ended up walking the plank.
On May 28, Trotz was believed to have interviewed with the Detroit Red Wings, who fired Jeff Blashill after seven seasons behind their bench. That was per a report by Elliotte Friedman.
As of now, here are the teams that still need to make head coaching hirings: Dallas, Winnipeg, Detroit, Boston.
At this time, two teams are still deciding whether or not to keep their interim head coaches. Jay Woodcroft is expected to be back behind the Oilers bench, as general manager Ken Holland was content with the way he coached and how the players responded per Tim Campbell of NHL Dot Com.
The other team still making a decision is the Florida Panthers who saw their interim head coach, Andrew Brunette, take over for Joel Quenneville after the Chicago Blackhawks scandal surfaced. He coached the Panthers to the best record in the NHL and got as far as the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before the Lightning got the best of them.
I would be absolutely flabbergasted if both interim coaches do not return to their respective clubs for the 2022-23 season.
So where will Trotz go? It sounds like a book Dr. Suess would have written.
The obvious choice seems a lot less obvious now. Could Trotz take a year off before returning to an NHL bench? Does he want to head into an upper management position? Or will the 59-year-old call it quits after a 23-year coaching career?