The Winnipeg Jets efforts to make Barry Trotz their next head coach ramped up over the long weekend.
According to a source close to the team, the Jets planned to follow-up with Trotz either Sunday or Monday, after being the first NHL club to meet with the veteran head coach last week. It’s believed the Jets wanted to table a formal offer to the 59-year-old Trotz, who was let go by the New York Islanders earlier this month, four years into a five-year deal.
The source said Trotz has two main priorities for his next contract.
The Manitoban has a desire to move into a front office role eventually, with his sights set on becoming a general manager. Trotz also covets a good home and community environment for his family, notably his youngest son, Nolan, who has Down syndrome.
While Trotz will have plenty of teams fighting for his services – Philadelphia, Vegas, Detroit and Dallas all have coaching vacancies and have been reported to have set up interviews with the Dauphin, Man. native, with more options likely to surface in the coming days and weeks – the source said the Jets are working off the advice of an advisory committee they set up to find a new head coach, a group that has Trotz at the top of their list.
The advice is that while others teams might have interest, only the Jets can give Trotz everything he wants, specifically a long-term commitment and chance to climb the ladder into management. It’s why they wanted to speak with Trotz over the weekend, to ensure him he was their top priority, according to the source.
By tabling their best deal, the Jets will also get a better understanding of where Trotz is in his search for a new NHL home. If he accepts, the Jets get the man they want. If Trotz turns down the deal, or requests more time to look over his options, the Jets can at least start to think about other head coaching candidates.
According to multiple sources, the Jets list of potential candidates includes, in no particular order: Scott Arniel (assistant coach with Washington), Derek Lalonde (asst. coach with Tampa Bay), Kirk Muller (associate coach with Calgary), Pascal Vincent (associate coach with Columbus), Spencer Carbery (assistant coach with Toronto) and Claude Julien. Julien, who last coached in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens in 2020-21, is currently coaching Jets centres Pierre-Luc Dubois and Adam Lowry as the bench boss for Team Canada at the World Hockey Championship in Finland.
Alain Vigneault, who was fired by Philadelphia in February, and Randy Carlyle, who hasn’t coached in the NHL since he was fired by Anaheim midway through the 2018-19 season, have also been connected to the Jets in recent reports.
The Jets began the 2021-22 season with Paul Maurice behind the bench, only for Maurice to voluntarily resign in December, noting he had taken the team as far as he could. Assistant coach Dave Lowry took over on an interim basis and led the Jets to a 22-20-6 record in 48 games, leaving them eight points shy of the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference.
General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff did not offer Lowry a contract extension at the end of the season, nor did he extend a new deal to assistant coaches Jamie Kompon and Charlie Huddy. Only goalie coach Wade Flaherty was invited back for the 2022-23 season, though a new deal has not been formally announced.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.