The Washington Capitals appear to have found their next head coach and it was who we thought it’d be all along.
ESPN’s John Buccigross is reporting that the Capitals are “very close” to coming to terms with Todd Reirden to become the 18th coach in franchise history. According to Buccigross, the announcement could come as soon as today.
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) June 28, 2018
Reirden was thrust into this position after Barry Trotz resigned as Capitals head coach in June. Trotz tried to renegotiate his contract with the team after an automatic two-year extension/raise kicked in when he won the Stanley Cup. Instead, Trotz and the Capitals agreed to terminate the deal and Trotz signed a five-year contract with the team’s Metropolitan Division rival, the New York Islanders.
Reirden, the team’s “associate coach” and Trotz’s “heir apparent”, coached the team’s defense. While he will be following the most decorated bench boss in Capitals history — Trotz won the 2015–16 President’s Trophy, 2015–16 Jack Adams Award, 2016–17 President’s Trophy, 2017-18 Prince of Wales Trophy, and the 2017-18 Stanley Cup — Reirden is beloved by the team’s players and the transition should be smooth.
“We all respect Todd. We all like him,” Alex Ovechkin said to Tarik El-Bashir before the 2018 NHL Awards. “Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”
“I thought he was crucial for my career,” John Carlson said recently to NHL.com, “and just changed kind of a few things how I looked at the game, changed a few things with the D that I think really benefited everyone on D and made it pretty clear what he expected of us and allowed us to go out there and do the rest.”
“I think guys have a lot of respect for Todd, and if that’s the case, then he’s going to do a great job,” Carlson added.
Kempny credited Todd Reirden for getting his confidence back here in Washington because he didn’t have much coming over in the trade. Said he had some bad games in the playoffs but Todd would give him keys to get right back on track.
— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) June 13, 2018
After giving him a promotion and the title of “associate coach” in 2016, the Capitals did not allow Reirden to interview with teams for their vacant head coaching positions last summer, which may have contributed to Trotz’s exit. In what may now be seen as a passing of the torch, Trotz gave Reirden the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five of the championship series.
Reirden’s impending announcement marks GM Brian MacLellan’s first coaching hire. Ted Leonsis and Dick Patrick originally hired Trotz as the team’s head coach in 2014.
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