The Islanders Just Fired Head Coach Barry Trotz ... So the Blackhawks Need to Pick Up the Phone

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The Islanders Just Fired Head Coach Barry Trotz … So the Blackhawks Need to Pick Up the Phone

Chicago Blackhawks

Monday morning brought some HOLY $#!+ news in the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders have fired head coach Barry Trotz.

With the Blackhawks considering who will lead the team through the rebuild and into the next generation of success (hopefully), Trotz should be the first call they make on Monday.

Trotz is a phenomenal coach. Period. If you paid attention to the Blackhawks during their dynasty days, the one coach who consistently went toe-to-tow with Joel Quenneville on the ice was Trotz, whose Nashville Predators gave the Hawks fits. Indeed, if not for the miraculous short-handed goal from Patrick Kane and iconic leaves-the-penalty-box-and-scored-the-OT GWG moment from Marian Hossa, the Preds might have had the Hawks’ number in 2010.

He spent 15 years in Nashville, getting the Preds into the postseason seven times. Trotz shockingly moved to Washington before the 2014-15 season and, in four years as the Capitals’ head coach, won their division three times. He led the Caps to a Stanley Cup championship in 2018 and immediately stunned the hockey world again, leaving for the gig with the Islanders.

The Isles appeared in the Eastern Conference Final the last two years before the 2021-22 season was a debacle. They spent their first 13 games on the road because their new barn wasn’t ready and never got off the starting block. The season was a disaster and, now, it cost Trotz his job.

He worked with some young teams, some teams in transition and some really good teams without household names in Nashville. He had some stellar defensemen — Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, especially — and Pekka Rinne in net but never had players like Patrick Kane leading his offense. His teams have always been a nightmare to play against because of their physical, defensive approach.

Given the lack of immediate impact forwards in the Blackhawks’ system, Trotz would be a masterful hire to get this team structured and headed in the right direction.

We’ll get into other coaching options for the Hawks as the offseason progresses, but bringing in Trotz would be the first enormous win for Kyle Davidson as the general manager of the Blackhawks — if he can pull it off. Don’t think for one second the list of teams interested in what I consider a future Hall of Fame coach will be short, and there will be other, more tempting options available for him.