By Corey Parkinson
The one big item that wasn’t decided during the NHL Draft and the days following it was getting a new head coach for the Cup-winning Washington Capitals. However, the Caps may be close to a deal with Todd Reirden.
Only days after the Capitals won the first Stanley Cup in their franchise history, the club was shaken as head coach Barry Trotz resigned following failed negotiations with management to improve his contract in a salary and length. The team took another blow recently when Trotz signed a 5-year $20 million deal with Metropolitan Division rivals the New York Islanders.
Reirden – No Surprise
To most Caps fans, it was no surprise as their was likely something amiss between Trotz and team GM Brian MacLellan in that Trotz coached the entire 2017-18 season without being offered a new contract. MacLellan could have sat down with his head coach at any point prior to the Caps’ Cup win, indicating that the GM saw it more likely that Trotz would go rather than stay.
Reirden is a former player having played five seasons with Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Arizona. After retiring from playing, Reirden, began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 2007, before becoming an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010. Reirden was let go by the Penguins in 2014 and hours later was hired by the Washington Capitals.
Ovechkin has Reirden’s Back
Making Reirden head coach won’t see much resistance from Capitals players. Michal Kempny, John Carlson, and team captain Alex Ovechkin have all given glowing support and admiration toward their long-time assistant coach.
“If it’s Todd, I’m sure lots of guys, everybody, going to be really happy,” Ovechkin said about Reirden shortly after Trotz left. “He’s a guy who’s a very good communicator, very good specialist and have lots of respect from us.”
Kempny even credits Reirden with helping him regain his confidence after he was acquired by the Capitals.
With the support of management and the players, it’s seems like a foregone conclusion that Reirden will become the new head coach of the Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitals.