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Barry Trotz to Flyers? It makes sense … if he is interested

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Philadelphia Flyers, Chuck Fletcher
Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher had a surprising candidate enter the team's coaching search Monday -- Barry Trotz, who was fired by the Isles.

Barry Trotz’s pain may turn into the Philadelphia Flyers’ gain.

Trotz, one of the most successful coaches in NHL history, was stunningly fired Monday by the New York Islanders. And guess which team is in the market for a coach who can revitalize a sorry-looking franchise?

Yep, your Philadelphia Flyers.

First, let’s be clear: Trotz won’t instantly transform the sad-sack Flyers into Stanley Cup contenders. There’s lots of work that the front office needs to do, and this isn’t going to be an overnight process.

Is Trotz, who is 59, willing to patiently nurture the team? If he wants to challenge for a Cup right away, well, he will have plenty of other options.

Coaches galore

Whoever is named, he will become Philly’s seventh coach in the last nine years.

The problem hasn’t been coaching. The problem has been talent, or the lack of it. Hiring Trotz won’t instantly make Chuck Fletcher a better general manager, won’t magically turn Ivan Provorov into Cale Makar, won’t transform a team of middle-six forwards into top-line performers.

Fletcher needs to have a big offseason — signing UFA left winger Johnny Gaudreau would be a good start — and change the culture of a team that has won one playoff series in 10 years.

And this year missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.

And had the NHL’s worst record from New Year’s Day until the end of the season.

I’m not piling on. Just giving the facts.

Slew of injuries

Oh, there were a slew of injuries to key players, and that should not be taken lightly. As interim coach Mike Yeo astutely pointed out, Scotty Bowman couldn’t have won with this battered club.

So, if Fletcher is able to make some positive moves, would that maybe entice Trotz to come here?

Here’s hoping, because the guy is a proven winner, even more so than the accomplished Alain Vigneault, whose firing made no sense in December.

Trotz, you may recall, resigned from the Washington Capitals shortly after leading them to their first Stanley Cup in 2018. The Caps didn’t want to pay Trotz, and he skipped away.

He built Nashville into a Western Conference mini-power during his 15 seasons in Music City. Trotz then spent four years with the Caps and four with the Islanders. This season, the Isles (37-35-10) missed the playoffs for the first time in Trotz’s four years with the club. Because their new arena wasn’t ready, New York started the season with 13 straight road games. And never recovered.

Trotz is still a winner, and his defensive structure would be greatly appreciated by Carter Hart. The former coach-of-the-year had a 152-102-34 record with the Islanders, and was 28-21 in the playoffs with the team, losing in the third round to eventual Stanley Cup champ Tampa Bay in the previous two tournaments.

There are already rumblings that Trotz could be a great fit in Winnipeg, which is where he was born. He reportedly will take a week before exploring any options.

Trotz is the third-winningest coach in NHL history (914-670-60-168), and has a .567 winning percentage. And, remember, several of his early years were losing seasons as he molded the expansion Predators into a competitive team.

The Flyers aren’t an expansion team, but they need so much rebuilding that they might as well be.

Trotz has experience building bottom feeders, and if he has the patience to accept the challenge and do it in Philly, well, he’d be a no-brainer to hire.

Before Trotz entered the picture, there were other intriguing candidates, including former coaches John Tortorella, Rick Tocchet, Joel Quenneville, and current assistants Derek Lalonde (Lightning), Lane Lambert (Isles), and Jim Montgomery (Blues).

From here, the suddenly available Trotz trumps all of them.

PHN: Flyers hope to climb in Tuesday’s draft lottery 

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Sam Carchidi is in his 14th year covering the Flyers. He can be reached on Twitter @BroadStBull or on email at samcarchidi55@gmail.com

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James

As I’ve been told several times today that this will be Fletcher’s task to hire his 2nd HC (even though he hired Yeo as an asst. who became the interim HC, Yeo was still his hire, and was a failure). During Fletcher’s reign as GM this will be the 4th HC change. Fletcher’s inability to help this club during his reign has caused the team to sink lower than they were before he was hired.
Fletcher is a remarkable failure as a GM, yet the front office continues to support him, even though the franchise is losing the interest of their local loyal fans. The ticket sales are lower than they’ve been for decades, and the TV ratings for their games has also dropped significantly, yet we’re supposed to trust the abilities of an absolute failure as a GM? Why?
Barry Trotz will not become the Flyers next HC, because the team has so little talent amongst the current roster, and the prospects on the farm are mainly mid-to bottom six players at best. Therefore an immediate transformation from being the 4th worst team in the NHL to becoming a Playoff contender over night is nothing more than a day dream by the front office (who needs dramatic changes that have been long overdo).
Barry Trotz will most likely go to a struggling team who has some significant talent within its roster or farm club who can be transformed by coach Trotz guidance. The Flyers are not any where close to that in order to attract him to come to this failing franchise.

JEFFERY SAVAGE

Sam, I don’t know much about Trotz except what you said in your article. He just maybe would be a good fit for the Flyers. Hope the Flyers do god in the Draft Lottery on Wed.
J.S. Diehard Flyers/.Giroux fan from, Denver, CO

Mick Shea

Two things Sam
First: I absolutely agree with you about Barry Trotz. This is a coach who won the cup with the Caps within the last five years, and let the Isles to the Eastern finals the last two years runniing. He would be the “Ideal” fit IMHO.
Second: How could you say the AV firing “made no sense” this man had obviously lost the team, and his assistant, Michel Therien had the worst PP (or close to it) in the NHL.

Todd Shannon

“The problem hasn’t been coaching. The problem has been talent, or the lack of it.” IMO, coaching has been just as big a problem. I think AV had one foot out the door already when he decided to come back this season, and Mike Yeo is just too nice of a guy and couldn’t get this team to do what he wanted. We all saw what Trotz did with the sad sack Isles his first year. No reason to think he can’t do something similar here.

Rob

Trotz – ABSOLUTELY.
If not, then Quenneville or Tortorella (who could light a fire into this lack luster team) would be good options

R M

Good article Sam. Trotz sounds like a tremendous fit, having built up the Predators from nothing. That is precisely what the Flyers need and are. Comcast should pony up. TV ratings are down bigtime, seats are empty. They have to spend where they can since coaching is not subject to a cap. Make the guy an offer he cannot refuse. Check. Draft a stud in first round. Check. Sign Gaudreau. Check. A good start.

Krug

It won’t make a bit of difference who the next coach is… until the several maladies in the Front Office are addressed: The only ‘plus’ going with Trotz…he’s not an ex-Flyer. The negative is that the teams in the division know his coaching style and ‘scheme’…in other words, they’ll know what to expect when the teams play one another. How low will the Flyers go with Fletcher at the helm? Stay tuned.

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