NASHVILLE, TN (The Tennessean) – Former Portland Pirates and only head coach in Nashville Predators history so far will not be back next season.
Barry Trotz will not return for a 16th season with the team, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Trotz has been with the Predators since the franchise's first game in 1998 after coaching the Portland Pirates from 1993 to 1998. Trotz took the Pirates to two Calder Cup finals, winning it all in the inaugural 1993 – 1994 season.
Trotz was hired in Nashville by general manager David Poile to steward a rag-tag group of players plucked in the expansion draft mixed with younger prospects.
He evolved into much more, becoming one of the most respected coaches in the NHL, thanks to his ability to deal with the difficult issues that come with being an expansion team in a non-traditional hockey market.
Trotz finishes his Predators career with 557 wins and 479 losses.
Whether the Predators had injury-plagued seasons or lost key players because the franchise couldn't or wouldn't pay up to re-sign them at premium dollar, Trotz kept them competitive, making the playoffs during a stretch of seven of eight seasons from 2003-04 through 2011-12. He was lauded for his ability to do more with less.
Still, there were shortcomings. For one, the Predators were unable to develop a true scoring forward under Trotz. The one player with that type of talent – Alexander Radulov – clashed with the coach, and bolted to the Kontinental Hockey League twice. There have always been questions about Trotz's defense-first mentality and his difficulties coaching offense, which seemed a perennial issue with the Predators.
Also, in 15 years, Trotz made it past the first round of the postseason only twice, and posted a 19-31-0 record in the playoffs.
It's unclear where the Predators will go from here. Former Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is available, and has ties with Poile through USA Hockey. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and would be an instant boost in credentials over Trotz.