Is Trotz the Flyers' guy? The case for why and why not


Throughout May and possibly into June, we'll look at potential candidates for the Flyers' head coaching vacancy.

"We're going to sit down and try to build that ideal candidate profile and really keep all options open, maybe look at it from a little broader perspective," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said May 3. "Clearly we have to sit down and really drill down in terms of what we're looking for. I'm sure there will be a lot of quality candidates we'll speak to."

We start our series with Barry Trotz, who was fired by the Islanders on Monday.

Why Trotz would be a fit

The 59-year-old has a wealth of experience, having won a Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Capitals, ranking third in all-time regular-season victories (914) and putting up nine seasons of 100 or more points.

Trotz has twice won the Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year) — with the Capitals in 2015-16 and the Islanders in 2018-19.

What could make him particularly appealing to the Flyers is his track of record of building a winning culture by emphasizing structure and good habits, aspects Fletcher has lamented numerous times over the last two seasons.

When Fletcher fired Alain Vigneault in December, he noted three times how the Flyers had lost their way. He mentioned process again in his end-of-the-season press conference when it was announced interim bench boss Mike Yeo would not be back as head coach. Fletcher had also admired the Islanders' game under Trotz, who knocked the Flyers out of the 2020 playoffs in the second round.

"Clearly injuries were a significant part of things, but I think it goes a little bit deeper than that," Fletcher said of the Flyers' 25-46-11 season. "We just really struggled this year. We were defending all the time and that's something we have to look at. We weren't exiting D-zone well enough. So there are certainly things we have to look at in terms of our structure, our details. We didn't have the puck enough and when you defend all the time, bad things happen.

"I go back to process and hopefully with coaching and looking at a few different ways, we can try to have the puck a little bit more often and not spend so much time in D-zone, make the game a little bit easier."

While the Flyers' issues the last two seasons have gone well beyond coaching, Trotz has a history of turning non-playoff clubs into contenders by getting players to buy in. After a precipitous drop-off this season and missing the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94, the Flyers don't want to linger near the basement much longer.

Why Trotz would not be a fit

It's possible Trotz doesn't want the job or doesn't want to coach again right now.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported how a management role might not be out of the question for Trotz's next job.

As we highlighted, Trotz would come with heavy-hitting experience. But so did Vigneault, a guy with a similar résumé and style. He was touted for quick turnarounds and his presence being respected by players.

After becoming the Jack Adams runner-up in Year 1, Vigneault was gone 22 games into his third season and never had a full 82-game campaign.

It's tough to decipher what the Flyers want in their next head coach. Perhaps they're looking to take a different route, maybe a lesser name with more of a player development background. Then again, the Flyers aren't exactly in a position to take risks with an unconventional hire.

Not only would Trotz be a safe bet, he'd be a really smart one, too.

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