When Barry Trotz was fired by the Islanders just over a week into May, one can only imagine how wide Chuck Fletcher's eyes opened and how high his eyebrows climbed.
A team in a spot like the Flyers, fresh into a head coaching search, and a future Hall of Fame bench boss that they've long admired suddenly hits the open market?
Barry, sorry to hear; but when would you like to chat?
Nearing mid-June, it still seems like Trotz is highly regarded by the Flyers and for their head coaching vacancy.
According to a report Saturday by DailyFaceoff.com's Frank Seravalli, the Flyers have narrowed down their list of candidates, with Trotz and John Tortorella standing among the finalists.
Trotz, a savvy Stanley Cup winner (2018) who ranks third in all-time regular-season victories (914), very well could have his pick of the litter this offseason. Including the Flyers, there are currently seven head coaching jobs available: the Blackhawks, Bruins, Golden Knights, Jets, Red Wings and Stars.
The Flyers have stiff competition, especially from the Jets. Trotz, who turns 60 next month, is from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
As clubs wait for the first shoe to drop, it's clear why the Flyers like Trotz so much.
Somebody with a presence that demands respect? Check.
Somebody with a rich track record of winning? Check.
Somebody who can turn around a team quickly? Check.
Somebody with a detail-oriented, goal-prevention system? Check.
When the Flyers hired Alain Vigneault in April 2019, Fletcher mentioned the Islanders as a prime example of a quick turnaround.
"Look at the job Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz have done," the Flyers' general manager said then. "They've gone from a team that looked far away and lost a key piece this summer, and they're in the second round right now."
In 2017-18, the season before Trotz's arrival, the Islanders allowed an NHL-worst 3.57 goals per game. In 2018-19, his first season with New York, the Islanders yielded the league's fewest goals per game at 2.33.
Over the last two seasons, the Flyers have surrendered 3.56 goals per game, tied for the most in the NHL.
And the last time the Flyers made the playoffs in 2020, Trotz's Islanders knocked them out in a second-round Game 7. Fletcher mentioned how New York was a bad matchup, stemming all the way back to the preseason.
The fiery and staunch Tortorella also has an impressive track record and those in the Flyers' organization know it well. Per Seravalli's report, the soon-to-be 64-year-old was believed to have completed his second interview with the Flyers last week. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said last month that Tortorella has a "legitimate shot" at the Flyers' job.
Will Trotz be the guy? Is it Tortorella time? Or is there a dark horse seriously in the mix?
We'll soon see just how much Trotz was driving the summer wait.
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