The Winnipeg Jets have lost out on the Barry Trotz sweepstakes. Well, everyone has.
Everyone, that is, except those friends and family close to the Dauphin product.
On Friday afternoon, word got out that the long-time Nashville Predators head coach and current free agent would not be joining the Jets, despite a lucrative offer.
Various reports suggest that Trotz was, in fact, rather impressed with President, Co-owner and Governor Mark Chipman and his team of managerial staff, including that of general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and assistant general mangers Craig Heisinger and Larry Simmonds.
“Winnipeg came after me in terms of wanting me to be part of the organization and I was really impressed with their commitment to winning, their commitment with [Kevin Cheveldayoff] as (general) manager,” Trotz said in an exclusive interview with Tim Campbell of NHL.com. “I know [assistant GM Craig Heisinger] and other people there. I’ve got relatives that work for the Jets and friends that work security there, people I went to school with. I know lots about the Jets. They’ve got a tremendous organization and a real family atmosphere. But I could not commit to any team; it wasn’t just Winnipeg, it was every team that I had talked to because I had to know I was 100 percent in.”
The decision by Trotz was made to give the 59-year-old some long-overdue family time.
Much like that of former Jets head coach Paul Maurice – who recently signed with the Florida Panthers as the team’s newest bench boss – time for family and friends is hardly an option when living out the rigours of a full-time NHL head coaching gig.
The decision was not to say ‘no’ to Winnipeg and sign on elsewhere, but rather take a break from everyday duties with any professional hockey club and enjoy at least one season away from the game back at his family home in Dauphin.
“It doesn’t mean I’m not going to coach. Just not going to coach right now,” Trotz added. “I’ve been doing this for 25 straight years and I’ve put a lot of stuff on the back burner and I think it’s time. The one thing I do know, and it’s a mistake that everybody makes, is you think you have time and you don’t. And so this is my time when I can get to a lot of things I’ve put on the back burner. I have to take care of those, for peace of mind for everything so I will be 100 percent in if I get back into it and I’ll be a better coach for it.”
Having been received of his duties with the Islanders following a season filled with uncontrollable variables dealt his way, Trotz has yet to make a public statement on his future outlook, but many have predicted a move from the bench to the front office in years to come – taking off some of the added stress for the soon-to-be 60-year-old.
Winnipeg will now continue with its exhaustive coaching staff search, including that of a head coach and assistants/associates to serve the club during the 2022-23 season and hopefully for the years to come.
Having turned their full attention to Trotz, other highly-ranked candidates have slipped through the cracks and signed elsewhere, including that of Peter DeBoer, John Tortorella, and Bruce Cassidy, while even Paul Maurice has taken over in Florida for Andrew Brunette – a 2021-22 Jack Adams finalist – who will now be searching for a job this fall.
Other potential names in the hat include that of Brad Berry, Jim Montgomery, Rick Bowness, Alain Vigneault, Scott Arniel and Pascal Vincent.
The team will begin its second round of interviews with candidates it had previously interviewed during the original process. With the attention solely on Trotz, the Jets’ management team will need to reconvene and put together a plan in the coming days, as the NHL’s draft, free agency and training camp are all creeping into the crosshairs.