The job Karl Taylor has done in Milwaukee over the last few seasons is nothing short of remarkable. Aside from being incredible at developing young players, which is one of the primary goals of the AHL, he’s also had an outstanding run as a head coach:
To truly understand the impact Karl Taylor has had in Milwaukee, it’s important to take a look at outgoing Predators Head Coach John Hynes. Despite being relieved of his duties as a coach with the Nashville Predators, Hynes received heavy (and deserved) praise for the job he did this season. Hynes weathered a furious storm of trades and injuries that quickly depleted his lineup and had him looking to Milwaukee for support.
The trade deadline saw the departure of Mattias Ekholm, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, and Tanner Jeannot while also dealing with season-ending injuries to Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Alex Carrier, Ryan Johansen, and Matt Duchene and injuries to a bevvy of others.
Relief came in the form of a rotating cast of Taylor-coached prospects such as Tommy Novak, Luke Evangelista, and a reinvigorated Phil Tomasino. Reinforcements also came in the form of quality AHL pickups like Jordan Gross, Mark Jankowski, and Kiefer Sherwood who all benefitted from time with Taylor as well.
Those players came in and performed exceptionally well (alongside a lights-out Juuse Saros) and kept the Predators in playoff contention until the very end of the season. John Hynes got a lot of credit for the way the team performed and is currently rumored to be in contention for a head coaching job with the New York Rangers.
While it’s certainly a testament to Karl Taylor’s prowess as a development coach that his players were able to make the leap to the NHL and help propel a wounded Predators team to a near playoff berth, that’s not the whole story. While everything was happening in Nashville, Karl Taylor was still coaching in Milwaukee. However, instead of being able to rely on organizational depth, Taylor kept on winning with his depleted roster and filled in the holes with players on loan from the ECHL as well as players on PTOs and ATOs. (Check out the action on Milwaukee’s transactions page)
And the crazy thing is, it worked. The Milwaukee Admirals finished the season in 2nd place in the Central Division and earned a first round bye in the Calder Cup Playoffs. With his roster replenished after the Predators season ended, the Karl Taylor and his Admirals went on a deep playoff run that saw them win a tight series against the Manitoba Moose and another tight series against the Texas Stars.
Those series wins placed the Admirals in the Western Conference Finals against the stacked Coachella Valley Firebirds. And while they fell two games short, they made it farther than any Admirals team since 2005-06. These results speak to his ability as a head coach to take his roster and get the best out of it.
Karl Taylor deserves the credit for how his players performed in Nashville, he deserves credit for the coaching job he’s done in Milwaukee, and he deserves to take that step as a member of an NHL coaching staff. He was a candidate for the head coaching position in Nashville, but that’s been filled. There’s still an open spot on the coaching staff in Nashville. However, there are plenty of head coaching positions open around the league–Karl Taylor should be a candidate for all of them.
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-featured image via Milwaukee Admirals-