It has been a tough couple of weeks for North Bay's Karl Taylor.
The former North Bay Trapper who coaches the Milwaukee Admirals, saw his team eliminated in six games by the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the American Hockey League's Western Conference Final.
On top of that, Taylor was recently shortlisted for the head coaching position with the Admirals affiliate team, the Nashville Predators, only to find out during the Coachella series that the Predators selected Sudbury product and former NHLer Andrew Brunette as the new head coach. Brunette replaces outgoing coach John Hynes who was let go at the end of the season after the Predators failed to qualify for the playoffs.
“He’s a very good coach,” Barry Trotz, Predators general manager, said of Taylor when Brunette was hired.
“I’m excited about what he’s done in Milwaukee. I didn’t have as long a relationship [with Taylor]. I had 31 years with [Brunette] and a three- to four-month relationship with Karl. You talk the game and all that. He’s a very good hockey man. No question, he was one of the three people that I considered over John.”
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According to The Tennessean, there appears to be a trio of options for Taylor: He could remain in Milwaukee, despite the fact he was passed over for the Nashville job. He could be named an assistant coach in Nashville, where Brunette has an opening on his new staff. He could land an assistant or head-coaching job elsewhere in the NHL.
Trotz admitted there's a chance Taylor does get plucked away from the organization by another NHL team. However, only the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers are currently in NHL head coach search mode.
Meantime, the Predators still have an assistant coaching opening with the departure of Dan Lambert who was let go at the end of the 2022-23 season.
“I hope [Taylor gets a head-coaching opportunity],” Trotz said. “I think Karl deserves that ... and is ready for that. I’m very happy with Karl."
Taylor replaced Dean Evason in 2018, who left for greener NHL pastures and is now the head coach of the Minnesota Wild.
In four years at Milwaukee, Taylor has led the Admirals to a record of 157-90-40, earning the AHL’s coach of the year award following the 2019-20 season.
Milwaukee has reached the playoffs in three of his four seasons (there was no postseason in 2019-20), and the Admirals this year reached the conference finals for the first time since 2006.