Winnipeg Jets’ Barry Trotz alternate options: 9 remaining head coach candidates

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Barry Trotz’s determination to take the yr off from teaching leaves Winnipeg with out its No. 1 goal and with the identical gaping organizational gap it had when it let Dave Lowry go in Could.

Trotz’s information follows reviews that Pierre-Luc Dubois intends to check the UFA market in 2024 and Blake Wheeler is extra open to a commerce than he’s been previously, giving Winnipeg a “sky is falling” feeling and a way that the Jets’ quick future is unsure.

As a substitute of competing for the playoffs and — ideally — the Stanley Cup whereas Dubois, Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck are all below workforce management, Winnipeg is trying to find alternate options because it begins its teaching search in earnest.

The Jets have been all-in on Trotz — as they need to have been, given his skills and renown — whereas exploring alternate options in solely probably the most preliminary of the way. Winnipeg might be upset to overlook out on Trotz however has the chance to broaden its scope because it pivots towards a brand new prime teaching candidate.

The Jets’ subsequent head coach, whether or not established or rising, would be the first main indication of their course for the following a number of seasons. Rent an up-and-coming coach with a powerful resume like Jim Montgomery and Winnipeg will sign an intention to win now, simply as was the plan when Trotz was the highest goal. Select an up-and-comer with out NHL head teaching expertise like Pascal Vincent and Winnipeg will sign a rebuild, resetting its sights previous Scheifele and Wheeler and towards what’s left of Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers’ primes.

Winnipeg’s subsequent transfer seemingly comes from ideas long-held by Jets possession. Stability and continuity might be priorities, given Mark Chipman’s perception that success relies on belief which, in flip, is dependent upon long-term relationships.

There may be additionally the matter of earlier Jets ties.

“In 25 years, all however two coaches in our group have moved on and moved up,” Chipman advised The Athletic final fall. “And there’s a way of satisfaction we soak up that, frankly. And within the case of Claude (Noel), I believed he did an excellent job in a tough state of affairs, transitioning that workforce. However from the day we began, whether or not it’s Randy (Gilhen) or Scott (Arniel) or Alain Vigneault or Pascal Vincent or Todd Woodcroft, we like the truth that coaches right here have succeeded.”

It’s no shock, then, {that a} seek for Winnipeg’s subsequent head coach begins with a glance by Jets historical past.

However the choices go nicely past NHL retreads with Jets ties. In some instances, there are coaches with just a little little bit of expertise on the lookout for their subsequent huge alternative — Montgomery, Rick Tocchet and Andrew Brunette, to call just a few.

And naturally, there are the standard suspects — particularly these up-and-comers like Vincent and Scott Arniel who’ve already coached for True North.

At present, we break down a number of the prime candidates as Winnipeg’s teaching search strikes into the post-Trotz period.


Jim Montgomery remains to be a powerful candidate to be the Jets’ head coach. We’ve reported that Montgomery remained a viable secondary possibility all through the peak of #TrotzWatch. The one factor I gained’t say is that Montgomery is a slam-dunk selection in the identical method that Trotz would have been.

Montgomery has NCAA and USHL championships, an NCAA coach of the yr award and a popularity as an up-and-coming, strategically fashionable head coach. Montgomery’s Dallas Stars outperformed his predecessor’s model (though, when he was fired midseason by the Stars for “unprofessional conduct,” Dallas went on to the Stanley Cup Closing.) There’s a risk that not everybody in Winnipeg views Montgomery as the man primarily based on his NHL resume to this point. Whereas I consider he’s a front-runner, I additionally consider that Trotz’s determination is extra more likely to depart Winnipeg taking inventory and re-evaluating proper now than transferring straight on to its No. 2 selection.

Scott Arniel is a near-lock to be a part of the following Jets workers, seemingly within the function of affiliate coach. With Trotz out of the image, it’s potential Arniel will get a good greater function. The previous IHL Moose and NHL Jets participant has already coached twice for True North, most lately as head coach of the 2009-10 AHL Moose. His efficiency as an AHL coach was sturdy sufficient to kickstart his NHL teaching profession, first in a disappointing stint as head coach of the Blue Jackets after which a sequence of playoff seasons as an assistant in New York and Washington. Arniel narrowly missed the Capitals’ 2018 Cup win below Trotz however made it to the ultimate below Alain Vigneault in New York.

Alain Vigneault led the Sedin-era Canucks to the Stanley Cup Closing in 2011 and gained a ton of normal season video games with Vancouver. Again-to-back first-round exits noticed him let go and picked up by the Rangers, the place he misplaced within the 2014 Stanley Cup Closing with Arniel on his workers. His observe file exhibits a variety of wins and a variety of playoff appearances however his previous two seasons in Philadelphia have been brutal, culminating in a 25-46-0 file and a dismissal this season. I ponder if Vigneault could be a greater slot in a market with extra apparent roster stability — Winnipeg is caught between making an attempt to increase its window and maybe retooling for a post-Wheeler, Dubois and Scheifele period. Nonetheless, his observe file includes a variety of wins and a variety of wins alongside Arniel, too.

Andrew Brunette would supply probably the most enjoyable storyline to the Jets head teaching job. Brunette took over the Panthers after Joel Quenneville’s departure within the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks scandal, guiding Florida to the Presidents’ Trophy and a playoff sequence win. Beneath abnormal circumstances, these accomplishments would symbolize the start of a profitable head teaching profession however Florida employed former Jets coach Paul Maurice as an alternative of eradicating the interim label from Brunette’s title. If Winnipeg can persuade him to take over the Jets, Brunette could be as motivated because it will get — not solely to determine himself as a full-time NHL head coach but additionally to show he’s a minimum of nearly as good as any of the veterans Florida pursued in his place.

As an analytics fanatic, swapping Brunette for Maurice would additionally enable probably the most scientifically minded strategy to evaluating teaching impacts that I can ever keep in mind seeing. As an thrilling hockey fanatic, the thought of Winnipeg modernizing its recreation towards Florida’s transition-heavy, offensively inventive fashion additionally holds nice attraction.

Pascal Vincent is a considerate, clever coach who left Manitoba for an NHL job as an assistant in Columbus. Vincent has already coached a number of present Jets, together with Connor, Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins — plus prospects like Cole Perfetti, Ville Heinola, David Gustafsson, Dylan Samberg, Johnathan Kovacevic, Declan Chisholm and extra. He’s nonetheless held in excessive esteem by True North and, whereas I feel dropping Vincent right into a veteran-heavy room marred by battle could be tough, Vincent turns into a greater possibility in a future-thinking surroundings. Name it a rebuild, a retool or any semantic title that you just like: if Wheeler is traded and Winnipeg places its deal with its subsequent wave of gamers, Vincent is a candidate to teach them.

Rick Tocchet is a free agent after six seasons as a head coach cut up between Tampa Bay and Arizona. Jeff Marek of Sportsnet reported that the Jets reached out to Tocchet as a part of their preliminary teaching search; if that dialog went nicely, then one imagines they reapproach Tocchet. The 440-goal NHL scorer hasn’t had so much to work with in previous head teaching gigs: The 2008-09 Lightning workforce he took over completed twenty ninth out of 30 groups, drafting Victor Hedman at No. 2, whereas Arizona gained one playoff spherical in Tocchet’s 4 seasons earlier than he parted methods with the workforce final offseason. Maybe he can do extra with extra in Winnipeg; Arizona has been a difficult state of affairs for quite a few seasons.


Kirk Muller (Jerome Miron / USA At present)

Kirk Muller has made the teaching hearsay mill rounds and his success as an affiliate coach in Calgary would maintain attraction. The Flames’ enchancment from 55 factors in 56 video games in 2021 to 111 factors and a plus-85 objective differential this season was dramatic; certainly, it’s what probably the most optimistic Jets followers will hope for in Winnipeg. Muller’s Hurricanes missed the playoffs three straight occasions in his single NHL head teaching gig between 2011 and 2014.

Randy Carlyle is a veteran, old-school coach with a Stanley Cup on his resume. I’ve been advised that there are facets of bench administration the place Carlyle excels and one may definitely think about somebody with Jets ties, earlier teaching expertise for True North and a popularity for being robust however truthful being an interesting candidate to some individuals in Winnipeg. That mentioned, even Carlyle’s largest supporters have a tendency to debate him as a great coach for earlier generations. It’s laborious to see what a 66-year-old coach final employed by Anaheim in 2019 can supply the Jets right here and now.

As I wrote in Could:

Carlyle spent 5 years in numerous capacities for the IHL Manitoba Moose, doing double obligation as head coach and GM for his last 4 seasons. His Moose groups included Moose assistant coach Eric Dubois, Jets director of participant improvement Jimmy Roy and Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel — who I additionally anticipate to be a part of Winnipeg’s teaching search.

From an analytical perspective, Carlyle’s groups have historically been low occasion, that means his influence on five-on-five play has tended to scale back probabilities at each ends of the ice. That is just like Paul Maurice’s influence on the Jets through the years — though Micah McCurdy’s teaching fashions counsel Maurice’s influence was ever so barely above common on the entire. Carlyle’s groups usually acquired out-chanced, relative to expectations primarily based on roster high quality.

David Quinn was a largely profitable NCAA coach for Boston College, going so far as the NCAA championship recreation in 2015 the place he misplaced to Brandon Tanev’s Windfall Friars (Jets followers could also be to know that Tanev scored the championship-winning objective.) Quinn took over the Rangers bench for 3 seasons beginning 2018-19, making the playoffs twice however failing to win a playoff spherical. Neal Pionk’s sophomore season was Quinn’s first as New York’s coach; analysis into how Pionk improved a lot in Winnipeg appeared to indicate the Rangers’ defence was a multitude in 2018-19 however New York made the playoffs the next season.

(Picture of Jim Montgomery: Patrick Gorski / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photographs)

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