Former Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz has reluctantly turned down an offer to run the Winnipeg Jets’ bench in order to focus on his family. The announcement was made on Friday.
“I’ve got some things personally that I’ve got to take care of, family-wise that I’ve got to take care of,” Trotz said Friday. “I didn’t feel… if I’d said I’ll take the job, I think I would have done any team a little bit of a disservice and myself a disservice because to be a coach in the NHL, it is demanding and it requires your all. It just does, emotionally it just does, mentally it just does. So I couldn’t go down that path,” said Trotz.
“It doesn’t mean I’m not going to coach. Just not going to coach right now. I’ve been doing this for 25 straight years and I’ve put a lot of stuff on the back burner and I think it’s time. The one thing I do know, and it’s a mistake that everybody makes, is you think you have time and you don’t. And so this is my time when I can get to a lot of things I’ve put on the back burner. I have to take care of those, for peace of mind for everything so I will be 100 percent in if I get back into it and I’ll be a better coach for it.”
The New York Islanders fired Trotz on May 9 after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his four-year tenure behind the bench. The team finished with 84 points, 16 behind the Washington Capitals for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, after falling to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round in each of the previous two seasons.
“Winnipeg came after me in terms of wanting me to be part of the organization and I was really impressed with their commitment to winning, their commitment with [Kevin Cheveldayoff] as (general) manager,” Trotz told NHL.com. “I know [assistant GM Craig Heisinger] and other people there. I’ve got relatives that work for the Jets and friends that work security there, people I went to school with. I know lots about the Jets. They’ve got a tremendous organization and a real family atmosphere. But I could not commit to any team; it wasn’t just Winnipeg, it was every team that I had talked to because I had to know I was 100 percent in.”
Trotz was also a front runner for the Philadelphia Flyers’ vacancy before he informed the club that he was going in a different direction. The Flyers, who offered Trotz $7 million per season, hired John Tortorella instead.
He also reportedly interviewed with the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers.
This past season, the Islanders recorded averages of 2.79 goals-per-game (tied for 22nd), 2.82 goals-against per game (tied for seventh), a 22.1% power-play efficiency (12th), and a 84.2% penalty-killing rate (fourth) under Trotz.
The Islanders hired former Capitals’ assistant and Trotz’s right-hand man in Lane Lambert to replace him.
Overall, Trotz has a 914-670-60-168 record in 23 seasons as an NHL head coach with the Islanders, Capitals, and Nashville Predators and ranks fourth all-time in wins. He is 83-79 in the postseason.
In four seasons with the Capitals, Trotz went 205-89-34, good for a .677 point percentage. Trotz won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2015-16 and guided the Capitals to consecutive Presidents’ Trophies in 2015-16 and 2016-17. He led the Capitals to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2017-18 and three consecutive Metropolitan Division titles.
Trotz resigned as Capitals head coach after a previously agreed upon two-year contract extension worth $1.8 million per season kicked in but he wanted a raise while the organization wanted him to commit to the contract he already agreed to.
The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings are the only other teams in need of a head coach after the Chicago Blackhawks reportedly hired former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson to run their bench on Friday.
By Harrison Brown