Barry Trotz’s availability could lead him to front of Red Wings’ search for head coach

Detroit News

Detroit — There’s potentially a new candidate in the Red Wings’ search for a head coach.

And it’s a pretty big, somewhat unexpected, name.

Coach Barry Trotz was relieved of his duties Monday morning by the New York Islanders, suddenly becoming one of the bigger available names out there as far as head-coaching candidates.

Trortz, 59, coached the Islanders for four seasons and took them to two Eastern Conference Finals where they lost both times to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders’ general manager, made the announcement Monday, more than a week after the regular season ended. Trotz had one year left on his five-year contract.

“It would be a tremendous understatement to say this was not an easy decision,” Lamoriello said. “Unfortunately it is my role to make the best decisions for the organization. I believe this group of players needs a new voice.”

Trotz joined the Islanders in 2018, after months earlier winning the Stanley Cup while coaching the Washington Capitals. The Capitals did not rework Trotz’s contract, and let him move to the Islanders.

Trotz began his coaching career with the Nashville Predators for the first 15 seasons in that organization’s history, taking the Predators to the playoffs the last seven years.

Trotz has 914 regular-season victories, trailing only Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Joel Quenneville (969).

The Wings, Philadelphia and Winnipeg — Trotz is from nearby Manitoba and has long been rumored to be a candidate to someday coach the Jets — are teams with head-coaching vacancies that could be interested in Trotz.

One report, by TSN’s Darren Dreger, hints Trotz might be interested in a management position, rather than continue coaching.

With Trotz being removed, it makes for an interesting situation surrounding his lead assistant Lane Lambert.

A former teammate of Steve Yzerman, the Wings’ general manager, Lambert remains under contract to the Islanders for a year and could be considered a head-coaching candidate for the Islanders’ job.

Speculation has been that Lambert could be a leading contender for the Wings’ opening, as well.

Yzerman announced the day after the Wings’ season ended the organization would not retain head coach Jeff Blashill.

Among the long list of names that could interest Yzerman (along with Trotz and Lambert), are Benoit Groulx (Yzerman’s minor-league coach when both were in Tampa), Derek Lalonde (current Tampa assistant), Swedish coaches Rikard Gronborg or Roger Ronnberg, and former NHL head coaches Mike Babcock, John Tortorella, Rick Tocchet and Alain Vigneault.

Yzerman said during his end of season press conference he’d like to have a coach in place near the Stanley Cup Finals in mid- to late June.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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