After seven seasons as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, Jeff Blashill was officially given his walking papers by GM Steve Yzerman, along with assistant Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko.
Detroit finished this season on the outside, looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth consecutive year; Blashill led the team to the postseason on only one occasion, his 1st season on the job in 2015-16.
And while this move was expected by many, one coaching change that almost nobody saw coming took place earlier in the month. The New York Islanders made the puzzling decision to relieve veteran head coach Barry Trotz of his duties despite leading them to within a game of the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and 2021, coupled with another postseason appearance in 2019.
Trotz spent the first 15 seasons of his NHL coaching career behind the bench of the Nashville Predators, leading them to the postseason seven times, including a 1st round upset over Detroit in 2012. Later, he would lead the Washington Capitals to their 1st Stanley Cup win in franchise history in 2018. He holds a career record of 914-670-60-168.
We'll take a look at the three reasons why Yezrman would be wise to hire Trotz as Detroit's new bench boss.
There's really no good reason why Barry Trotz shouldn't be a top candidate for the Detroit Red Wings head coaching vacancy.
1. The team would instantly improve defensively thanks to the system he employs. The Red Wings finished the 2021-22 season with the NHL's worst goals-against average. They routinely were lit up by the opposition to the tune of five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and even eleven goals against while looking lost and often disinterested.
Upon his hiring by the Islanders in 2018, they would finish that campaign as the NHL's top defensive squad in their own zone while also allowing the least amount of goals of the then-31 teams.
2. Trotz, a Stanley Cup winner in 2018, would immediately bring championship pedigree at the NHL level to the Red Wings. Of course, Blashill had led the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup title but wasn't able to replicate that success with Detroit.
3. In addition to his Stanley Cup experience, Trotz has coached some of the game's top players over the course of his career, including Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Niklas Backstrom, Matt Barzal, and Evgeni Kuznetsov. This would immediately benefit the likes of young players like Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond and established figures like Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.