Sunday, August 10, 2014

Future Top Prospect

When it was announced in early July that Troy Mann was to be the new head coach, I started writing a post reiterating what a great move this was for the team and speculating on what type of system we might see this year.

However, I found it to be a bit redundant to anything being said on PennLive so I decided to scrap it. Besides, what's to be said? It IS a great move. Not only from a strictly hockey point of view but a PR angle as well. The fans know Troy Mann and what he brings to the table.

As for a system and expected style of play, the most important thing is how well Barry Trotz and Troy Mann will work together and what kind of system will be put in place in Hershey. And Tim Leone had a great article a few weeks ago from development camp that sheds some light on what can be expected.

But as I was mulling all this over the past few weeks, I started to think about the types of influences Troy Mann has acquired so far. And it's quite a list: Bruce Boudreau, Bob Woods, Mark French. From these guys, Troy Mann has experienced first hand teams that are offensive juggernauts and knows what winning looks like. More importantly, he knows what it takes to win. And how to handle talented star players can't be discounted either.

And now working with Barry Trotz gives Mann knowledge and experience of the other side of the coin: defense. That's going to be quite a well rounded hockey education. And from coaches that had great success at the AHL level.

Now it just comes down to whether Troy Mann can translate all that into winning with the Bears. The team is stacked with many solid, defensive-minded defensemen and a glut of goalies all vying for a spot. This should help smooth over the fact that the Bears are still a bit light on offense as they have been the past couple of seasons. But at least it provides Mann with options as he finds a winning formula.

All that being said, if Troy Mann can find success with the Bears over the next 3 seasons or so, he could become one of the top coaching prospects in hockey. Not too many of the young coaches out there have his kind of coaching education and knowledge. Now all he needs is time and experience to see if winning is the result.

With the recent signings of Willie Desjardins in Vancouver and Mike Johnston in Pittsburgh, there is no reason to believe that if Troy Mann finds success in Hershey he won't be one of the top coaching prospects in the future.

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