Winnipeg Jets, Barry Trotz fit is perfect. And then where could it become complicated?
Barry Trotz is so renowned leaguewide and in Winnipeg that information technology’s easy for his Jets coaching candidacy to be discussed with a dangerous amount of hype.
All of the cornerstones of a coaching resume are there. The Stanley Loving cup, the commitment to defence, the multiple seasons of teams outperforming their projected standings position. Trotz’s customs brownie is there, besides; we’re several weeks into Winnipeg’southward head coaching search and every whispered slice of gossip near the guy is virtually how solid of a human being beingness he is.
But what if he’s not the right person to coach the Jets?
Now that talks between Trotz and True North are heating up and a decision is expected by July 1, it’s fourth dimension to consider the possible downsides of Trotz’s tenure.
Let’due south take it beyond the obvious — what if he costs too much? — because, well, information technology’s not our coin. Let’s ignore the impossible-to-predict — what if the Jets miss the playoffs anyhow? — considering, well, that’south incommunicable to know from here.
Instead, let’south focus on iii known concerns.
The first and most obvious is that Trotz appears to be interested in a path to direction. It’due south been said and bears repeating that, with head coaching vacancies existence filled across the league, Trotz is essentially down to coaching in Winnipeg, pursuing a murky situation in Florida or perhaps even joining Nashville in some kind of management capacity. Given that he’s still meeting with Winnipeg, it seems as though the Jets have every chance to employ Trotz if he coaches in the NHL adjacent season.
The Jets take on a adventure based on the degree to which Trotz is able to brand thespian input a formalized part of his job duties
Coaching excellence doesn’t guarantee managerial excellence. One imagines a certain caste of growing pains, fifty-fifty when it does work out.
Jets fans volition be quite familiar with the traditional late offseason signing of Matt Hendricks, Mark Letestu, Nate Thompson or Riley Nash. Winnipeg made moves like this on a nearly annual ground in the Paul Maurice era and at that place is a perception that, even in a collaborative workspace, these moves were more historic by coaching than by management. On a small calibration, a veteran player earning the league minimum salary comes with limited risk; the cap implications are small, the minutes tend to be low-leverage and the thespian can always be moved like Nash was if the experiment fails.
Sometimes the minutes thing more: Nash averaged one:31 per night on the power play, which trailed Nikolaj Ehlers (2:12) and Paul Stastny (1:44) while surpassing Cole Perfetti (1:15) and Adam Lowry (0:54). Nash scored zero points in 22:46 total minutes with the human advantage.
Trotz is not responsible for Nash. However, a look at the minute distribution on Long Isle last year shows a balanced squad, led by Mathew Barzal at the top (eighteen all-situations minutes, co-ordinate to Hockey Viz. The fourth line — most frequently Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck — got between 11 and 14 minutes per game. The most negative available interpretation, beingness made hither for statement’due south sake only, is that Trotz’s preference is to reduce high-leverage star minutes too steeply in favour of reliable fourth-line players.
If Mark Scheifele is sent to New York for Jean-Gabriel Pageau — a superior checker who has averaged less than one-half a point per game in his NHL career — it will obviously be a articulate loss.
No, it’due south not fair to invent a hypothetical trade and then blame a hypothetical coach for not being overruled by his theoretically more-powerful general manager. I won’t begrudge you a niggling eye-curl at my expense. My point here is only that everyone has their preferences and Trotz has a winning reputation. It is easy for me to say that Jets management is lean as opposed to bloated — that, if whatsoever team has room to create an assistant GM position in a few years’ time or even to bump its GM upward to president of hockey operations, Winnipeg is it. Only ironing out the exact breakdown of roles, responsibilities, powers and privileges may not be as easily done as written.
Winnipeg’southward second substantial run a risk, should it hire Trotz as head passenger vehicle, is that it will immediately demand a succession program.
Whereas Truthful North executive chairman Mark Chipman prefers coaches with longevity, using continuity to build trust, Trotz appears to be headed toward a shorter contract — perhaps two or three years — as he nears the finish of his coaching career. Winnipeg may feel force per unit area to hire his eventual replacement this summer instead of when that contract ends, asserting continuity into futurity seasons instead of putting together an extensive coaching search all over once more a few years from at present.
Hiring Trotz ratchets up the pressure on the organization to build a coaching staff around him, perhaps asserting its own choices where a head coach might traditionally get more elbowroom. Whether this means an associate coach in waiting like Scott Arniel, someone highly touted from outside the organization or otherwise, Winnipeg will need to work harder to create a staff with complementary and diverse skill sets. Ideally, that would happen in concert with Trotz — after all, if he’s the one being hired, then presumably his vision and the social club’s vision aligns.
None of this is impossible. Information technology is merely an additional potential force per unit area that True North may observe unwieldy — an extra needle or two to thread in an ideally snag-free transformation of the social club.
It would also be completely reasonable for the guild to start side by side flavour with Trotz at the helm and a succession programme in mind and and then divert from that program if the procedure doesn’t appear to be working. I merely think that the Jets run themselves so methodically and call back then far into the future that version of a 2-pace may not be the homecoming dance information technology has in mind.
If this sounds besides hypothetical, consider what Chipman said last fall: he told Maurice the mean solar day they met that he “expected (Maurice) would exist here for a long time. And I actually did.”
“Unless yous go really, really fortunate, yous tin can’t have success — however you lot define it — without a civilization that’s built on trust,” Chipman went on to tell me. “Trust between the players and the coaches, and vice versa. And betwixt the hockey administration and the coaches. And you can’t just add water and have trust — information technology takes time.”
Keep those words in heed when considering Chipman’s thoughts when recently asked about Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik’s success.
“The patience he’southward shown with (Lightning coach Jon Cooper), it’s the same thing in the front end function,” Chipman said. “There’s been longevity in terms of leadership at that place. When they had an off year or disappointing playoff, they didn’t panic. He didn’t abandon his principles.”
Information technology’due south entirely possible Chipman was speaking just near Tampa Bay and the very specific success the Lightning have had. Information technology is my own belief that sticking to his principles has been an overriding aspect of Chipman’s tenure at True North. I wouldn’t be surprised if the unique structure of this situation — whether it’due south about a path into management or the demand to find a new head coach sooner than afterwards — challenges some long-held practices with respect to continuity and tenure.
Winnipeg’s tertiary risk is the nature of the path between how the Jets played final season and how Trotz would insist that they play.
I’ve heard Trotz described by those who know him every bit relentless in terms of making people play the right mode. I’ve heard his approach described past players as extraordinarily structured and planned. Every faceoff, every neutral zone transition, every defensive zone coverage comes with a singled-out plan. We know Trotz’south methods lead to results and we know they lead to buy-in, specially in increments of a few years at a time.
It’southward also prophylactic to look that a Trotz hiring would come up with enough of friction and perchance fifty-fifty some roster churn between terminal season’due south functioning and true contention.
It may be that all of these concerns are only the cost of doing business organization with someone known to be among the very all-time at what he does.
Just don’t mistake Trotz’due south position as Winnipeg’southward front-runner for a guarantee everything goes 100 per centum smoothly.
We may look back at the days between now and his ultimate decision equally the least stressful part of Winnipeg’s path dorsum toward the acme half of the league.
(Photograph: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)