Barry Trotz stunned the hockey world Monday by announcing he would not return as the Washington Capitals head coach.
Trotz statement pic.twitter.com/xizEDT78MJ
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 18, 2018
Trotz’s contract is set to expire June 30, but the coach used the word “resign” in his official statement. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and others reported that Trotz received an automatic two-year extension for winning the Stanley Cup, but at just a $500,000 yearly raise. Trotz has decided to take his chances on the open market rather than coach for less than the $3 million salary benchmark every active NHL coach with a Cup win is above.
While the internet and social media were abuzz with assumptions Trotz will fill the New York Islanders vacancy under new team president and GM Lou Lamoriello, there are a couple obvious names to watch regarding the Capitals vacancy.
And both are former Pittsburgh Penguins coaches.
Todd Reirden has been one of Trotz’s assistant coaches since 2014. It was a given Trotz could be fired this season, and after the Capitals sputtered for the first half of the season, even he admitted to being down to one mid-season game to save his job. Reirden, who served under Dan Bylsma with specialties in defense and penalty-killing, was presumed to be the coach-in-waiting if Trotz got the ax.
Reirden’s only professional head coaching experience was a one-year stint in the American Hockey League’s new-age ‘cradle of coaches,’ the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but he’s been an assistant at the NHL level for nearly a decade.
There’s also the possibility Bylsma himself moves into the Capitals’ top spot. Recently reported to have been offered a assistant coaching gig in Detroit, Bylsma certainly has enough head coaching experience in the league to get serious consideration in Washington. The Michigan native headed up the Penguins from 2009-14, then added two more seasons with the sad-sack Sabres before heading off to do TV work for NHL Network.