WASHINGTON- Eleven days ago head coach Barry Trotz and his Washington Capitals had just put the finishing touches on the team’s first ever Stanley Cup championship in 44 year of existence. Since that moment, DC has been riding this momentum through championship celebrations including last Tuesday’s parade that saw upwards of 100’s of thousands of Capitals fans flock to DC to be part of the party.
And in blink of an eye, the momentum was dashed. The Washington Capitals announced today that Barry Trotz had resigned from the club and would be moving on effective immediately.
It has since been reported by various sources that the moment that Trotz guided the Capitals to the championship, a two year contract extension worth roughly $2 million per year had kicked in. Unfortunately for the Capitals, this contract extension language was agreed upon in 2014 prior to the explosion of NHL head coaching contracts that started with Mike Babcock in Toronto and Joel Quenneville in Chicago.
Both of those former Stanley Cup winning coaches make upwards of $5 million per season. It is also being reported that both sides attempted to renegotiate the terms of the extension but the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement and ultimately Trotz chose to resign.
The real question is what does this mean for the Washington Capitals moving forward. It is widely expected that assistant coach Todd Rierden will be promoted to head coach with Trotz’s decision to resign. Rierden has been with the club since 2014 and he has largely been considered the coach in waiting.
According to Nick Kypreos, Rierden was in consideration for the head coaching vacancies in Arizona, Buffalo, and Florida last off-season and Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan denied interview requests for those teams to speak with Rierden. Many saw this revelation as an indication that perhaps Barry Trotz wouldn’t be back in Washington, Stanley Cup or not.
It is also important to note that on April 15, the Capitals were trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 in the best of seven series and on their way to another playoff disappointment.
Many fans and prominent reporters have also criticized Trotz throughout the season for questionable line up decisions and his unfaltering loyalty to struggling veteran players such as Brooks Orpik and Alex Chiasson among others. Often times, Trotz would scratch promising youngsters like Christian Djoos, Andre Burakovsky, and Jakub Vrana in favor of these veterans. All three younger players played a key role in the Caps finally climbing the Stanley Cup mountain.
It is unknown where Trotz will head next. The only head coaching vacancies in NHL right now are the position that Trotz just resigned from and the New York Islanders. Trotz finishes his impressive four year tenure in Washington with a record of 205-89-34, which was good for the best record in the NHL.
Image Credit: Sporting News