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Nashville’s Coaching Mistake

One of the most important rules that teams often violate regarding coaching is never fire your coach if he will immediately become the most sought after unemployed coach on the market.  The Nashville Predators have broken this rule in firing Barry Trotz.

Trotz had been the only coach in Nashville Predator history and had done a good job with limited talent.  The Predators didn't have the greatest season this year.  They finished in tenth place in the West Conference.  A significant reason for that was top goalie Pekka Rinne was injured much of the season and limited to 24 games played.  Carter Hutton,  Marek Mazanec and Devan Dubnyk tried unsuccessfully to pick up the slack.  Nevertheless the Predators only finished three points back of a playoff spot.

The problem now is that Nashville will need a new coach.  That coach will not be Barry Trotz.  There is unlikely to be any other coach available with his track record. While it is possible the Preds may find a successful coach, it is far more likely that the newcomer fails to do as well as Trotz has done with the team. 

Teams in need of new coaches are lining up to try to interview Barry Trotz.  He is the most wanted coach in the NHL right now.  I don't know where Barry Trotz will wind up, but it won't be Nashville.  Nashville will be lucky to find a coach almost as good as Trotz.  The problem is they could easily have had Trotz into the future, but they chose not to.

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perfection's avatar

While I’m with you in a way, I think it’s akin to Lindy Ruff last year. Sometimes a situation just gets stale. Though I think Trotz has consistently overachieved more than Ruff did, I think the org wants to mix it up with Weber still in his prime. Also, it’s a move a GM makes as a way of deflecting blame off themselves for one more year.

But as you point out, there’s a risk for sure. Their new coach probably won’t be as good. But look at Roy and Cooper. You never know.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/17/14 at 02:36 AM ET

Chet's avatar

poile’s gotten some nice young forward talent of late in jarnkrok and forsberg. i think he has to unload weber before too long, but with the right return, this team may contend in 2-3 years.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/17/14 at 03:15 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

I agree with PSH. 
This is a mistake by Poile. 
It does deflect the blame away from Poile, as Perfection suggests. 
It also may have been dictated by (bad) ownership.

Posted by w2j2 on 04/17/14 at 04:59 AM ET


I couldn’t believe they fired him. He did an incredible job with a limited roster. Now they’re probably going to be in the same boat as the caps. Fire a very good coach and hire a new guy and probably watch the wheels fall off. Wouldn’t be amazed to see a bad team can throw coach just to hire trotz.

Posted by teldar on 04/17/14 at 06:41 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

I agree it is a mistake for Nashville to let Trotz go, I disagree he was fired. Trotz contract was up and he was non-retained. Same as when a player is at the end of their contract and free to sign with any other team. Suter and Parise weren’t fired a couple years ago when their contracts expired. Fired is when there is still term remaining on the contract, or contract is terminated early by the employer. That is not the case here. Both Trotz and the Preds fulfilled their obligation and no further consideration is due to either party.

Posted by Tripwire32 from the binary digisphere on 04/17/14 at 08:18 AM ET


Really, the rule is: Don’t fire your guy if you can’t get a better guy. Who is (or will be) available that is better than Barry Trotz? Randy Carlyle? Peter Laviolette? Is it time for the coach of Milwaukee?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/17/14 at 09:05 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

While I’m with you in a way, I think it’s akin to Lindy Ruff last year. Sometimes a situation just gets stale.

I think Lindy Ruff is an interesting example you use.  Did you happen to notice how successful Buffalo has been post Lindy Ruff.  They rocketed all the way to last place.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/17/14 at 09:36 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

My biggest worry is that the Preds will hire Jeff Blashill.

Doesn’t change any of the arguments above (because I think they simply turned Trotz into an effigy for that organization’s failiures and I do think he’ll be the most sought-after coach this summer).  Just that if there’s a guy with a decent chance to get that job and do a decent job, Blashill might be it.

Then again… it’s not exactly like Dallas Eakins set the world on fire after jumping from the AHL to a bad team.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/17/14 at 09:46 AM ET

awould's avatar

Trotz is the one guy not to blame for Nashville’s lack of success this season.

Posted by awould on 04/17/14 at 10:06 AM ET

@TheJimP19's avatar

If someone says Trotz wasn’t fired… I would like to see what a firing truly is…

Poile blamed their loss in the playoffs to Phoenix on Trotz, saying that he gave him a team good enough to win the Cup and he failed….  He basically threw Trotz under the bus, shoveled out the corpse, then threw it under one more time.  Trotz has done well with what are crappy rosters for years, this franchise for the most part is and with the exception of a few seasons, a joke.  Wouldn’t surprise me if they deal Weber before his next payment of 13 mill somewhere in June or July…

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 04/18/14 at 04:45 AM ET

@TheJimP19's avatar

According to local media, the leading candidate to replace Trotz is Laviolette.

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 04/18/14 at 04:46 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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