Barry Trotz, who is being wooed by the Philadelphia Flyers and many other teams, may be in the area Friday to talk with the Orange and Black’s management about the coaching job.
Or maybe it will be be over the weekend, or perhaps next week.
An NHL source said it will be soon, but didn’t know the date.
Chuck Fletcher, the Flyers’ general manager whose job depends on the success of the coach he hires, is mum on the subject.
Fletcher, whose injury-ravaged team had the second-worst record in franchise history last season, would not comment on Trotz or any other person in the running.
“We expect to interview several high-quality candidates over the coming days and weeks,” he told Philly Hockey Now. “Our goal is to find the right candidate for the job based on chemistry, fit, and proven track record of success.”
Trotz, 59, checks all the boxes, but there are no guarantees he wants to try to turn around a team that isn’t close to being a Stanley Cup contender. He has already interviewed for the job in Winnipeg, his native city, and Vegas is reportedly courting him.
The list of teams that want Trotz is long. And why not? He is the third-winningest coach in NHL history. He won a Stanley Cup with Washington, built Nashville from an expansion team to a Western Conference contender, and transformed the Islanders from pretenders to contenders, taking New York to the Eastern Conference finals in consecutive seasons.
“Our process will be confidential, and therefore we won’t be releasing any names or details of the candidates we wish to interview,” Fletcher said.
Fair enough. But that won’t stop us from speculating. Besides Trotz, the Flyers’ wish list should include John Tortorella, Rick Tocchet, Joel Quenneville (if the NHL allows him to return), David Quinn, Jim Montgomery, Derek Lalonde, Mike Babcock, Claude Julien, and Paul Maurice.
Lalonde is an assistant with two-time defending champion Tampa, and his stock is rising. Montgomery, a former Flyer, is an assistant with St. Louis. Their teams are still involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Flyers will no doubt confer with some players who played for these coaches, such as Cam Atkinson with Tortorella in Columbus, and Ryan Ellis with Trotz in Nashville.
An out-of-the-box candidate: Rikard Gronborg, who has had success coaching in Switzerland.
But the best candidate is, by far, Trotz, a two-time coach-of-the-year who would bring much-needed defensive structure to the Philadelphia Flyers.
My guess is Trotz goes to Winnipeg to be close to his elderly father, but the fact he has agreed to talk with the Flyers gives them some encouragement.