Barry Trotz will not be returning to the Capitals after delivering the team's first Stanley Cup.
Barry Trotz has informed the Washington Capitals of his decision to resign as the team's head coach.
The Capitals finished 205–89–34 in the four seasons under Trotz, which is also the best record in the league in that span of time. Trotz helmed Washington to its first Stanley Cup this season, which triggered a two-year contract extension, though he instead chose to leave, becoming the first coach since Scotty Bowman retired after winnning the Cup with Detroit in 2002. in 1994, Mike Keenan left the Rangers after raising the Cup, becoming the coach of the St. Louis Blues the following season.
Trotz issued a statement on Monday, saying "After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation as head coach of the Washington Capitals. When I came to Washington four years ago we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation's capital. We had an incredible run this season culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitiment with our fans. I would like to thank Mr. Leonsis, Dick Patrick and Brian MacLellan for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. I would also like to thank our players and staff who worked tirelessly every day to achieve our success."
According to reports, Trotz was seeking to become one of the highest-paid coaches in the NHL, among Toronto's Mike Babcock ($6.25M per season), Chicago's Joel Quenneville ($6M) and Montreal Claude Julien ($5M), all Stanley Cup winners. Trotz is coming off of a four-year deal worth $6 million total, though the team didn't want to discuss an extension following back-to-back second-round exits in 2016 and 2017. Despite a 2017-18 season filled with rumors regarding his job status, the 55-year-old guided his team to the Cup.
“We were struggling at the time to get over the hump,” MacLellan, the Capitals GM said. “We couldn’t get out of the second round and Barry hadn’t been able to coach out of the second round yet either. I think from the organization’s perspective, some changes would’ve had to be made if we lost in the second round again.”
The leading candidate to replace Trotz is Washington's associate coach Todd Reirden, long considered the heir to the bench in D.C.
“We’re going to start with Todd here, and we’ve been grooming him to be a head coach whether for us or for someone else," MacLellan said. "We’ll see how the talk goes with him and then we’ll make a decision based on that. If it goes well, then we’ll pursue Todd, and if it doesn’t, we’ll open it up a little bit.”
The Capitals join the New York Islanders as the only NHL teams with coaching vacancies
Trotz's record with the Capitals and Nashville Predators, with whom he spent the first 15 years of his coaching career stands at 762-568-60-134, good for the fifth-highest win total in NHL history, only behind Quenneville among active coaches.