Does Trotz Fit the Philadelphia Flyers?

Barry Trotz
FILE – New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, left, and assistant coach Lane Lambert stand on the bench during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y. The New York Islanders have hired longtime Barry Trotz assistant and right-hand man Lane Lambert to succeed him as coach. General manager Lou Lamoriello announced Lambert as Trotz’s replacement Monday, May 16, a week after firing the Stanley Cup-winning coach who had one year remaining on his contract. (AP Photo/Jim McIsaac, File)

Currently, the Philadelphia Flyers are without a head coach.

Mike Yeo will interview around the NHL for a head coaching job. He will not be the Flyers’ head coach next season. Chuck Fletcher did not rule out bringing Yeo back to the organization, however.

Who will be the next head coach in Philadelphia? It’s a multiple-million-dollar question that needs a correct answer.

Currently, the Flyers are in the middle of a retool. Fletcher mentioned that the retool borrows elements from the book of rebuilding. He has assets; whether traded or developed further are up for discussion. There is a coach that knows how to work with a recovering franchise.

Barry Trotz is the latest buzz. Does he make sense for Philadelphia? Will the players play ball with Trotz? The answer isn’t as easy as we all suspect. Trotz is an incredible candidate, but is he the correct answer to a multiple-million-dollar question?

A Fit for the Flyers?

Trotz could be a fit. It’s not too hard to imagine, either. He embedded himself with the New York Islanders during a rebuild. The Islanders became kryptonite to the Philadelphia Flyers, especially in 2019-2020.

His brand of hockey requires a dominant defensive style. If he were to become the next head coach of the Flyers, the team must buy into Trotz. Upon arrival, Trotz would bring an identity to Philadelphia. It is still on the players to establish that identity. We’re asking for Trotz to be the catalyst of a winning culture following one of the worst Flyers seasons of my lifetime (almost 33 years.)

…And you know…maybe he is?

Would he make this team tougher to face? It’s likely. He has a track record of bringing the best out of his player.

Do you know who else had a solid track record and wanted his players to buy into a defensive style? Alain Vigneault.

A Players’ Coach?

Vigneault and Trotz are separated by this idea. Notably, some players didn’t jive with Vigneault. Before a hire is made, the next head coach must understand the city and the players on a more profound level. Trotz nailed that aspect with the New York Islanders.

Based on the reaction elicited following his firing from the Islanders, Trotz seems like an obvious candidate for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders missed the playoffs and Lou Lamoriello stated, “it would be a tremendous understatement to say that this wasn’t an easy decision to make.” Trotz was beloved by the Islanders’ organization, but the NHL is a business.

Both Fletcher and Lamoriello mentioned that their teams required “a new voice” when firing Vigneault and Trotz. Fletcher was asked if Vigneault lost the locker room, to which he responded:

“I don’t know that, I honestly don’t know that. I certainly know that he tried and certainly you go back to the ’19-20 season, his message was really well-received, we were a really good team. Right now, we’ve lost our way. We have to find out how good our group is, but we have to get guys playing better, playing a little bit differently. Right now, I think a new voice is needed.”

Chuck Fletcher; 12/6/2021

“We’ve lost our way,” is evidence of a coach losing his players. The Islanders did too, but it speaks volumes that Trotz manned the ship throughout 2021-2022 to a fifth-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

Legitimacy or Longevity?

We’ve all played the game this offseason, shortlisting potential head-coaching candidates for the Philadelphia Flyers. Trotz stands out as the best candidate already circulating the NHL.

Outside of the NHL, a challenger awaits.

Unlike the last time the Flyers ventured out of the NHL for a head coach, Rikard Grönborg is a much more suitable candidate than Dave Hakstol was. Grönborg, the current ZSC Lions head coach, created a hockey system employed by Sweden. Like Trotz, Grönborg brings the same tenacity to the bench. Unlike Trotz, Grönborg would be a breath of fresh air to the entire NHL.

Philadelphia missed two consecutive postseasons. Fletcher may feel the heat from the hot seat to fill out the “blank-check” from Dave Scott and buy-in.

The Flyers don’t have the personnel that Trotz did with the Washington Capitals or New York Islanders. How long until Philadelphia is in any condition to contend? Will Trotz be in for the long haul? Fletcher must be more sure with this acquisition than any other this offseason. The right head coach is far more critical than landing a superstar talent.

(AP Photo/Jim McIsaac, File)