For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators will have a new face behind the bench this October.
Barry Trotz, the only head coach Nashville has had since joining the NHL before the 1998-99 season, was relieved of his duties on Monday morning, as reported by The Tennessean.
A press release on the Predators website indicates Trotz has been offered a position within the team’s hockey operations department, though he will consider his options before deciding.
In the same release, general manager David Poile said, while there was “no finer ambassador for the Predators or Nashville” than Trotz, the Predators failed to meet expectations the last two seasons, resulting in the need for change.
“Our change in direction began over a year ago as we have made several personnel changes, including trading of long-time veteran players and a change to our coaching staff last offseason,” Poile said. “Our goal is to return to the playoffs with the ultimate goal of contending for the Stanley Cup.”
Trotz has coached all 1,148 games in Predators history, posting a 541-456-60-91 regular season record with seven playoff appearances.
However, they have never advanced beyond the Western Conference semi-finals, with just two series wins in franchise history.
The patrons of Smashville have seen a downturn in their team of late, as the Predators have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons after Ryan Suter left to sign with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent.
While the Predators have a solid defence with captain Shea Weber, rookie Seth Jones, along with World Championship MVP Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, scoring hasn’t always been easy to come by. Nashville hasn’t had a player score 60 or more points since J-P Dumont had 65 points in the 2008-09 season.
With Trotz’s dismissal, Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings becomes the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, having been in Detroit since 2005.