Barry Trotz transitioned from being an NHL coach to taking on the role of GM and Nashville Predators are back in the playoffs under his leadership

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Barry Trotz

Barry Trotz didn’t categorize whether he was rebuilding, retooling, or simply resetting the Nashville Predators during his first season as general manager. Revival might be the best term to explain what he has achieved.

Not only has Trotz assisted the Predators in reclaiming their “Smashville” identity, but Nashville is also back in the NHL playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

That was Trotz’s final year as the only head coach the expansion team had ever known. His new tenure with his former team has been a resounding success so far.

The Predators won’t find out their first-round opponent until later this week. The postseason kicks off this weekend, marking the ninth time in 10 seasons Nashville has made it to the playoffs and the 16th in the last 20.

“Smashville was the Coliseum, it was a place that you didn’t want to come in on a Saturday night and have to play the Predators because you’re just trying to get out, and I think we got away from that,” Trotz said Tuesday.

Captain Roman Josi, who played his first three NHL seasons under Trotz, said it was fantastic to hear that Trotz was returning as their new GM.

Trotz replaced David Poile, who retired last summer as the NHL’s longest-serving and winningest general manager in league history.

Nashville Predators (Credits: Yard Barker)

Josi mentioned that switching from coach to general manager must be challenging, but he thinks Trotz has done a remarkable job after leading Washington to the 2018 Stanley Cup and coaching the New York Islanders before coming back to Tennessee.

“A lot of credit to him for what he built,” Josi said. “And, obviously now being in the playoffs is pretty cool, right, and that was always his goal. He was clear on that, and it was always our goal.”

Some of Trotz’s former players aren’t surprised at all by his successful transition from coach to general manager. T.J. Oshie won the Stanley Cup with Trotz in 2018 and sees Trotz as someone who understands how to fit into a system.

“He’s a very big guy on character,” Oshie said. “You put together a room of a bunch of guys with a lot of character, they’re going to do some pretty special things.”

Defenseman Karl Alzner played three seasons for Trotz in Washington and admits he didn’t initially see him as a GM. Alzner said Trotz is such a thoughtful, genuine person that being a tough-skinned GM could be tough.

Being nice didn’t stop Trotz from making the moves he felt were needed to recapture the identity he had helped build. Trotz fired John Hynes as coach last May and replaced him with Andrew Brunette, the man who scored the first goal in Predators history.

Trotz signed top two-way center and 2019 playoff MVP Ryan O’Reilly, rugged Cup-winning defenseman Luke Schenn, and winger Gustav Nyquist. He also traded Ryan Johansen and bought out Matt Duchene, making Nashville big winners in NHL free agency.

Nashville started the season slowly at 5-10-0 before climbing to .500. The Predators struggled after the All-Star Game, bottoming out with a 9-2 loss Feb. 15 on home ice to Dallas. Trotz canceled team plans to see U2 at the Sphere in Las Vegas, and the Preds then went 16-0-2.

Nashville Predators (Credits:

Alzner described Trotz as someone who doesn’t talk much, but when he does, everyone listens. “Unfortunately, they had to cancel the concert, but in the end, everyone’s jobs are at stake, so you have to make the right choice,” Alzner said. “I guess it worked. He’s not dumb. This guy knows what he’s doing.”

The Predators’ record-breaking points streak pushed them closer to the playoffs. Even better, after struggling at home early in the season with a 14-15 record, they finished strong with a 9-1-2 run, ending with a 23-16-2 record in Nashville.

Fans showed their support, bringing back standing ovations during breaks in play.

Trotz noted that Nashville is a great hockey market, with owners who provide a level playing field with other NHL teams. By re-establishing their tough style of play, the team reconnected with fans who enjoyed watching them on the ice.

“We are in the entertainment business,” Trotz said. “So I wanted to have a team that was entertaining, but also a team that was not sitting back.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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