The Nashville Predators are moving on without the man who led the team on the ice from Day 1.
Barry Trotz will not return for a 16th season as head coach, the team announced after a Tennessean report, but he is being offered a position within the team's hockey operations department.
"Our organization has high expectations and we have not met them in the past two seasons," general manager David Poile said in a press release. "As a result, it is my decision and determination that we need a new voice and a new direction. 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. Our goal is to return to the playoffs with the ultimate goal of contending for the Stanley Cup. We know that once we get into the playoffs, anything is possible.
"I also want to thank Barry for everything he has done for our franchise. He has been the face and voice of our team for 15 years. He created, developed and lived The Predator Way – on the ice, in the office and in the community. There could be no finer ambassador for the Predators or Nashville than Barry Trotz. He has laid a foundation and culture that will benefit the next coach of the Nashville Predators."
The team said the search for a new coach will begin immediately with no timetable for making a hire.
"It is most important we get the right individual for our franchise, our team and our community," Poile said. "We will investigate all options in order to identify the best candidate."
The Predators scheduled a 3:30 p.m. press conference to discuss the move.
Trotz has been with the Predators since the franchise's first game in 1998, hired by Poile to steward a rag-tag group of players plucked in the expansion draft mixed with younger prospects.
He evolved into much more, becoming one of the most respected coaches in the NHL, thanks to his ability to deal with the difficult issues that come with being an expansion team in a non-traditional hockey market.
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Trotz finishes his Predators career with 557 wins and 479 losses.
Whether the Predators had injury-plagued seasons or lost key players because the franchise couldn't or wouldn't pay up to re-sign them at premium dollar, Trotz kept them competitive, making the playoffs during a stretch of seven of eight seasons from 2003-04 through 2011-12. He was lauded for his ability to do more with less.
Still, there were shortcomings. For one, the Predators were unable to develop a true scoring forward under Trotz. The one player with that type of talent – Alexander Radulov – clashed with the coach, and bolted to the Kontinental Hockey League twice. There have always been questions about Trotz's defense-first mentality and his difficulties coaching offense, which seemed a perennial issue with the Predators.
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Also, in 15 years, Trotz made it past the first round of the postseason only twice, and posted a 19-31-0 record in the playoffs.
It's unclear where the Predators will go from here. Former Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is available, and has ties with Poile through USA Hockey. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and would be an instant boost in credentials over Trotz.
"We thank Barry for his many contributions to the Predators organization" Chairman of the Predators ownership group Tom Cigarran said in a press release. "Barry is an exceptional person and coach. We wish him the very best going forward. We also have great confidence in David Poile's plan. We support this decision, and believe change is necessary if we are to reach our goals."
Reach Josh Cooper at 615-726-8917 and on Twitter @joshuacooper.