After 15 seasons behind the Nashville Predators bench, head coach Barry Trotz is being let go. The team will not bring him back, per the Tennessean's Josh Cooper, but the successor is unknown at this point, although the team has announced that they have offered Trotz a position in hockey operations - how weird is that???
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager announced today that Barry Trotz's coaching contract will not be extended and that the organization will immediately begin a search to identify a new head coach for the 2014-15 season. Trotz has been offered a position within the organization's hockey operations department and will consider his options before making a decision on the position.
Trotz wraps up a storied run of 1,196 regular season games (13th all time) with a record of 557 wins (13th all time), 479 regulation losses (8th all-time), 60 ties and 100 overtime/shootout losses, to go with a 19-31 playoff record. While he consistently led the Predators to the playoffs from 2005-2012, they usually failed to make much of an impact, never pulling off an upset and squandering a few chances (such as 2007 and 2012) to take the team on a deep run.
With the team finishing out of the playoffs for the second straight season, heat has been rising around this franchise like never before, but interestingly, nobody in the media placed primary blame on Trotz, who has long been credited with getting the most out of the talent he's been given.
Making organizational change doesn't have to be about assigning blame, however, it can also be about positioning a team for the task ahead, and in Nashville, that means developing a new set of leaders at forward, such as Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, and Filip Forsberg. Fostering young offensive leaders isn't something Trotz has succeeded at very often here in Nashville (although one could argue that the draft operation hasn't given him much to work with). Assistant coach Phil Housley could get that chance, given his success with the US World Junior team and work with Nashville's young defensemen this season.
Will a change behind the bench lead to a new, more successful era of Predators hockey, or at least bolster the season ticket renewals which Jim Diamond reported as disappointing?
What we do know is that the Nashville Predators are going through a rite of passage as a professional hockey team, after which there will be no guarantees of success or failure - only a test of whether ownership and the front office are up to the task of finding a new path forward.