Barry Trotz out as Predators' coach
Lone bench boss in club's history has been offered front-office job
Barry Trotz, the only head coach in the Nashville Predators' 16-year history, will not return to the bench for the 2014-15 National Hockey League season.
The Predators on Monday issued a news release, stating they are beginning the search immediately for a new head coach and that Trotz has been offered a position within the organization's hockey operations department.
Trotz compiled a record of 557 wins, 479 losses, 60 ties and 100 overtime and shootout losses in the regular season. The 1,196 games coached puts him second ony to Gregg Popovich of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs for longest active coaching tenure in the four major professional sports.
Nashville, which has failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs the past two seasons, competed in the post-season all but one time from 2003 to 2012. Trotz is the only NHL coach to take his team to the post-season in seven of eight seasons prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
"Our organization has high expectations and we have not met them in the past two seasons," Predators general manager David Poile said in a statement. "As a result, it is my decision and determination that we need a new voice and a new direction.
"Our change in direction began over a year ago as we have made several personnel changes, including trading of longtime veteran players and a change to our coaching staff last off-season."
On April 3, 2013, Poile traded right-winger Martin Erat to Washington and dealt defenceman Scott Hannan to San Jose. Six weeks later, former NHL defenceman Phil Housley was named assistant coach.
The Predators have been in transition since losing defenceman Ryan Suter to Minnesota as a free agent in July 2012 and also matching a 14-year, $110 million US offer sheet to keep captain Shea Weber.
With the lockout shortening the season, the Predators had a batch of injuries in posting their first losing record (16-23-9) since 2002-03.
Nashville spent more than $36 million on five free agents last July. Goalie Carter Hutton did post 20 wins in Pekka Rinne's absence, but the rest of the spending spree didn't produce the offence they wanted. Poile traded Matt Hendricks for goalie Devan Dubnyk in January, but Viktor Stalberg was a disappointment with only eight goals and 19 points.
Rinne missed 51 games this season because of an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip, and they finished 10th in the Western Conference missing the final playoff berth by three points. Nashville went 38-32-12 and finished the season with points in 10 of their final 12 games, going 9-1-2 down the stretch.
With files from The Associated Press