NASHVILLE -- Barry Trotz feels an intriguing sense of freedom.
At a time of year when he would normally be doing exit interviews with players and having long meetings with management, the former Nashville Predators coach is involved in other things.
He runs errands. He takes his son Nolan out to play some baseball. He went to the Grand Prix of Alabama last weekend.
'I have not done any interviews and I didn't expect to do any until the middle of May. It's always about a month before the draft'
Is there time for hockey? Maybe at night, when playoff games are on television.
"I don't think I've had this much energy in a while," said Trotz, who was fired by the Predators on April 14. "Every year, you need a couple of weeks to energize as a coach and get back at it. I got it now."
The Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks are other NHL teams with head-coaching vacancies.
He did say Predators general manager David Poile has fielded calls from other teams about Trotz's availability.
Since Trotz is still technically a Predators employee until June 30 when his contract runs out, teams need permission to talk to him. He said he won't focus on his next possible coaching job until mid-May, when the job market will probably heat up.
"It's mostly noise right now, but David has reached out and said that there has been some teams just asking about me. I don't know those specifics," Trotz said. "I have not done any interviews and I didn't expect to do any until the middle of May. It's always about a month before the draft."
Trotz's next team could still be in the playoffs, of course. If squads with high expectations -- such as the Minnesota Wild or Pittsburgh Penguins -- fail to advance beyond the second round, he could be an option. The San Jose Sharks also must make a decision on Todd McLellan after they lost to the Los Angeles Kings while blowing a 3-0 series lead.
Trotz said he's not watching the playoffs to see who wins and where he could land. He's still watching from more of a coach's perspective.
"You make mental notes," he said. "You're a coach, so you make mental notes from matchups, to who steps up in the playoffs to who doesn't, different types of players."
When most coaches are fired, they tend to get out of town quickly and avoid former colleagues. But not Trotz, who said he sometimes watches games with Predators assistant Lane Lambert. He also said he talks with Poile a couple of times per week.
"We have a friendship," Trotz said. "He has reached out to me to see if there's anything he can do for me."
But until he finds a new job -- which many around the league believe will happen this off-season -- Trotz will continue being a father, husband and repairman at his Brentwood, Tenn., home.
"I have a list of stuff I need to do during the day. I try to do a couple of hours of professional stuff, be it hockey stuff I haven't gotten to the last little while, husband stuff, everything to repairing stuff around the house that I neglected around the winter," he said. "Around the afternoon, it's back to trying to help out with my son with swimming lessons and being a dad."
-- USA Today