The winner of the Canes Country "next coach" poll which has been running here the past couple of days is former Nashville Predators coach, Barry Trotz.
Trotz has a solid lifetime winning percentage in the NHL, spanning for over 15 seasons, (.533), considering he took over an expansion franchise loaded with spare parts. He has guided his team to the post season, 7 of the last 10 years, but has missed the past two seasons, which led to his dismissal.
The only coach the Preds have had since their existence, Trotz is well known as being a huge advocate for hockey in the Nashville area and has been very active helping local charitable organizations. But as well liked as the coach was personally, many in "Smashville" were happy to see him replaced.
Recently, when asked how new head coach Patrick Roy was able to turn around the Colorado Avalanche, Trotz simply stated, "he got them to play defense".
That one sentence should tell you a great deal about this coach.
Nashville teams have never been known for playing wide-open offensive hockey. As a matter of fact, if you speak with some of their fans you will hear the following complaints about the team's style: dump and chase, one man forecheck, neutral zone trap, and boring hockey.
But sometimes perception is different than what the stats say. Over the past three seasons, the Preds have actually scored more goals than the Hurricanes, including last season.
Take into consideration as well that Nashville does not have what most would consider to be offensive superstars up and down their roster.
Of course they are led by all world defenseman, Shea Weber, who not only heads up the blueline, but also leads the team in scoring. But their top paid and leading scorer on the front line is Patric Hornqvist, who scored 22 goals last season. His best season ever was back in 2009-10 when he scored 30.
Next up on the salary chart is Mike Fisher, who is a solid overall player but is not necessarily known for his offensive abilities. Fisher's best season in his career was also back in 2009-10 when he scored 25 goals.
Some have said that Trotz stifles his team's offense, but a writer over at On The Forecheck, claims otherwise. In his article, he showed where many of the top players in Nashville either matched (their career average) or surpassed the top offensive numbers in their career while playing under Trotz.
The author checked the stats and pointed out that players like Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan, and J.P. Dumont, matched, or had their best offensive years statistically, playing in Nashville.
So, is it just a fallacy that Trotz stifles offensive creativity and his teams play boring hockey? I guess that is up to the beholder, but after 15 years, no one can blame Predator fans for wanting a change.
It should also be pointed out that Nashville was 12th in the NHL last season with a 19.2% powerplay percentage. The Hurricanes, who are almost always near the bottom of the league, were stuck at 14.6% and 28th in the league. Two seasons ago, Trotz had the Preds at number one in the NHL with a 21.6% rating.
Boring or not, he is a winner. Take away the first five years of his career, in which few reasonable people would expect an expansion team to win many games, and he has a 412-280-94 regular season record and a .583 winning percentage.
Although another criticism is that his teams have had trouble advancing in the playoffs and he has won just two series while losing seven, posting a 19-31-0 record.
Will Ron Francis hire him? My best guess says no, Francis will stick with someone he knows. But I do think someone will hire him again this season.
(Next up, we will take a closer look at Kevin Dineen.)