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Poll: Is Barry Trotz an elite coach in the NHL?

Aug 18, 2013, 4:45 PM EDT

Barry Trotz Getty Images

If there’s anyone who’s been a mainstay in their job in the NHL it’s Predators coach Barry Trotz.

Since the team began operations in 1998, Trotz has been the man behind the bench. That’s 14 seasons and never once has he been threatened to be dismissed.  After Lindy Ruff was fired by the Buffalo Sabres, Trotz became the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.

With that in mind, here’s a question to ponder:  Is Barry Trotz an elite NHL coach?

Think of the guys around the league you might consider for that label: Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Dave Tippett, Claude Julien. All except Tippett have won a Stanley Cup but he hasn’t had the luxury of steady ownership. Trotz too has been running a team that’s had financial restrictions of a different kind.

GM David Poile has only recently spent big bucks and that was to match the Flyers’ offer sheet for captain Shea Weber. His monster deal aside, anyone that’s come to Nashville has done so with a modest contract and without superstar talent.

Yet still over those 14 seasons, the Predators have made the playoffs seven times. It wasn’t until their sixth season in the league that they made the postseason the first time, but since then they’ve only missed out twice. That kind of success says he’s doing something right.

There are some things working against him. Nashville has never won a division title. It wasn’t until the 2010-11 season that they finally escaped the first round of the playoffs. Last season saw them wind up the fourth-worst team in the league and their worst win percentage since 2001-02.

Does longevity mean being an elite coach though? That’s the debate here. Let us know what you think in our poll.


  1. tru2joelu4eva - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    “Does longevity mean being an elite coach though?”

    ask lindy ruff.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      or george karl, if you’re into that sort of thing …

  2. prov1x - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Given what he has had to work with Trotz has done a hell of a job. I doubt Scotty Bowman could have done much better with David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist as the top forwards. It’s a shame that he will lose his job this season.

  3. iggyfan2001 - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Why is Darryl Sutter always left out of the conversation when it comes to elite coaches? When he’s coached a team for an entire season, he has never missed the playoffs. He has a cup and another finals appearance. His teams are always really tough to play against. Sure he was a god awful gm but you can’t argue with his coaching record.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Yeah you’re right, he’s an excellent coach- solid record, playoff success, Stanley Cup. But I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s elite (and I don’t believe Trotz is either). The word “elite” is thrown around far too easily. There are lot of great coaches in the game, but very few are truly elite. Scotty Bowman was elite. IMO, Babcock is elite. After that, it’s open for debate debate. Is Hitchcock elite? His record says so. What about Quenneville? Two Cups and a lot of winning seasons would make ya think so. Lindy Ruff? Julien? Torts? Vigneault? Trotz? Tippett? Laviolette? It’s hard to decide where to draw the line. Sutter is in the upper echelon but I don’t consider him elite.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Forgot Bylsma, but he’s been blessed with a ridiculous amount of talent and yet they can’t stop underachieving.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:01 AM

        I looked at the names mentioned on this thread, then their record. Looking at total wins, points% and playoff win %, I come up with Babcock, Quenville and Hitchcock at the clear “elete”, Raft and Julien as “Almost Elite”.

        Coach Season Ws Points % Playoff Ws Win %
        Babcock 445 .635 78 .591
        Hitchcock 605 .596 72 .539
        Julien 375 .604 54 .568
        Laviolette 389 .573 43 .524
        Quenville 680 .612 88 .542
        Raft 571 .560 57 .564
        Sutter 451 .559 63 .524
        Torts 410 .541 38 .494
        Trotz 519 .532 19 .380
        Tippet 427 .611 33 .446
        Vigneult 422 .583 37 .474

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Trotz and Tippett are probably the most underrated coaches in the game, but neither is “elite” in my mind. I mean Trotz doesn’t have the budget that Babcock or Quenneville have, so that probably puts him in the conversation. But I don’t think it’s enough. His Nashville teams have had enough talent to do damage in they playoffs but they never seem to find a way. In Suter’s last season with the Preds, they had a stacked roster. They actually had scoring depth (which is rare), a deep defense corps, and an elite goalie. But they got handled by a less talented Coyotes team. Like Tippett, he almost always keeps his teams competitive, but he needs some real playoff success to be considered elite.

  5. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    I’d say he’s a Stanley Cup away from being “Elite”, but he does fit in the same category of coaches as Darryl Sutter, Ken Hitchcock or John Tortorella… Defensive minded coaches, who want defense first at all costs. Offensive players don’t like playing with these guys, but their systems win games.

  6. alswingman - Aug 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    To be considered “elite” you need championships. That way other coaches are measured by your success. That said, as a coach you still have to know how to use your personnel the right way and motivate them. It’s a fine line. Scotty Bowman is elite because he has been brilliant with whatever teams he is leading (including overmatched Blues teams in the first expansion era). Glen Sather was an elite coach because he got the most out of a great roster. Al Arbour was also an architect in that regard. A bad coach would have found a way to tank those great Oilers and Isles teams.

    Trotz is solid, especially considering he was a minor league coach prior to the Preds. He does more with less, even in off years it is acceptable because they are not getting whitewashed. They are a competitive franchise.

  7. schlitzy - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I would love to see Trotz coaching in a bigger market where more money was being spent on the ice. as a Rangers fan I would love to see him as the bench boss in NY. nothing but respect for what he’s done in Nashville with such a limited budget.

  8. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    I don’t see winning %s mentioned in the article or in the comments. I get it that he’s coached an expansion team, but a points% of .532 and a playoff win % of .380 is not elite.

    The #s are what the #s are.

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