The biggest name left on the NHL coaching market is former New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz. Trotz was fired by the Islanders after taking them to within arm’s reach of the Stanley Cup final for two straight seasons before missing the playoffs in 2021-22. The 2018 Stanley Cup champion has met with quite a few teams, with many eyeing Trotz’s hometown Winnipeg Jets as his potential landing spot. According to Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading panel, Trotz is expected to make a decision on his future “around July 1st,” and he is expected to weigh the opportunity of a “potential management role” with the Nashville Predators.
This option may not seem likely to many fans, as Trotz is an in-his-prime coach widely seen as one of the best in hockey. But TSN’s Darren Dreger adds that getting into management is something that Trotz has “been interested in for quite a while,” and a landing spot in Nashville, where he coached from their inaugural season in 1998 through 2014, seems like a perfect fit. There are already seismic changes set to come in Nashville, with new ownership confirmed for the near future, and perhaps Trotz re-joining the organization that started his NHL coaching career could be another step in a summer of major news for the Predators.
Now, for some other notes regarding this NHL offseason:
- At first, it might seem as though the Montreal Canadiens are one of the few teams at the NHL Draft who are best situated to sit tight and make their draft picks at their allotted slots. But that may not be the route the team chooses. The Canadiens, who own the first-overall selection and host the draft itself, have a new President of Hockey Operations in Jeff Gorton. One thing that defined the later years of Gorton’s tenure as GM of the New York Rangers was his aggressiveness in trading up in the draft in order to secure desired players. In a video released by the Rangers as part of their 2020 draft coverage, Gorton can be seen imploring his draft war room to find players worthy of moving up for. Gorton traded up at the 2018 draft to secure defenseman K’Andre Miller, and also did so at the 2020 draft, in order to select defenseman Braden Schneider. Gorton’s Canadiens own 14 picks at the 2022 draft, and with that in mind, combined with the evidence of Gorton’s prior drafts, it seems clear that the Canadiens are a team to watch in terms of trading up. TSN’s Darren Dreger seems to agree, reporting that the Canadiens are “going to try and move up” at the draft. With the draft held in Montreal, the combination of the number-one pick and the home team’s desire to trade up could make this one of the more entertaining drafts in recent memory.
- While the mid-season signing of Evander Kane soaked up all the headlines, the deadline-day acquisition of defenseman Brett Kulak could go down as Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland’s shrewdest move of 2022. While some scoffed at the idea of Holland dealing a second-round pick for a defenseman without an extremely long track record of proven NHL success, Holland’s bet was a solid one, as Kulak helped solidify Edmonton’s defense and provide steady, reliable play next to frequent partner Tyson Barrie. Pierre LeBrun reports on TSN that Holland has met with Kulak’s agent, Gerry Johannson, and that the Oilers “want to re-sign” Kulak. LeBrun does stipulate that the cap hit on any new contract must make sense for the Oilers, but since both Kulak and the Oilers reportedly want to finalize a reunion, it would definitely not be surprising to see Kulak return to his hometown Oilers on a new deal this summer.