If there’s anyone who’s been a mainstay in their job in the NHL it’s Predators coach Barry Trotz.
Since the team began operations in 1998, Trotz has been the man behind the bench. That’s 14 seasons and never once has he been threatened to be dismissed. After Lindy Ruff was fired by the Buffalo Sabres, Trotz became the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.
With that in mind, here’s a question to ponder: Is Barry Trotz an elite NHL coach?
Think of the guys around the league you might consider for that label: Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Dave Tippett, Claude Julien. All except Tippett have won a Stanley Cup but he hasn’t had the luxury of steady ownership. Trotz too has been running a team that’s had financial restrictions of a different kind.
GM David Poile has only recently spent big bucks and that was to match the Flyers’ offer sheet for captain Shea Weber. His monster deal aside, anyone that’s come to Nashville has done so with a modest contract and without superstar talent.
Yet still over those 14 seasons, the Predators have made the playoffs seven times. It wasn’t until their sixth season in the league that they made the postseason the first time, but since then they’ve only missed out twice. That kind of success says he’s doing something right.
There are some things working against him. Nashville has never won a division title. It wasn’t until the 2010-11 season that they finally escaped the first round of the playoffs. Last season saw them wind up the fourth-worst team in the league and their worst win percentage since 2001-02.
Does longevity mean being an elite coach though? That’s the debate here. Let us know what you think in our poll.