Do the Caps Risk Losing “Defensemen Whisperer” Todd Reirden in the Offseason?

Oct 25, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden during on his bench against the Calgary Flames the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Washington Capitals won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Capitals hired former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, it’s safe to bet not many fans took much notice. 

But two years into his Capitals coaching career, Reirden has helped turn what was once one of the Caps’ weaknesses into one of its biggest strengths. And if the Capitals win the Stanley Cup, could the Caps risk losing Reirden to a team looking for a head coach?

ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 7: Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden keeps an eye on practice at the Washington Capitals developmental camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex July 7, 2014 in Arlington, VA. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Reirden’s arrival coincided with the signings of his former charges in Pittsburgh, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, who have stabilized a blueline that used 14 different defensemen in 2013-14. Since then, Reirden has helped defensemen such as John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov, and Nate Schmidt evolve their games and continued to help further the growth of Niskanen and Orpik. But as defense becomes ever-more important in today’s NHL, and several NHL teams inevitably going to need new head coaches, could Reirden be a target for some of those teams? With his track record for working with defensemen, Reirden has the knowledge about what it takes for a player to play great defense; and after working with successful head coaches in Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) and Barry Trotz (Washington), as well as playing as a defenseman in the NHL himself, there is always the possibility that a team pursues Reirden.

The good news for both Caps fans and players is that the Caps have to grant other teams permission to speak with Reirden, and after all he’s done in DC, it’s hard to imagine the Caps letting him leave. But if Reirden wants to explore outside opportunities, would the Caps have to do their due diligence and allow him that opportunity? They could, but they could also refuse him that opportunity. Another Washington assistant Lane Lambert has been with head coach Barry Trotz for years and it seems unlikely he would leave if offered a job.

Reirden is still under contract to the Caps, and it’s very well possible that he would rather stay in Washington than go elsewhere. Nevertheless, it’s a possibility to keep an eye on this summer.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to Do the Caps Risk Losing “Defensemen Whisperer” Todd Reirden in the Offseason?

  1. Jerry says:

    There have been several articles in the last few days talking about the end of the Alex Ovechkin era. Don’t be so quick to announce the end of the Alex Ovechkin era. Do not forget he scored 50 goals this last season and was the only player in the NHL to do so. Alex may have 3-5 more good years ahead of him before he slows down. Slowing down may mean only 35-40 goals a season. Alex’s contract has several more years to go and I see him completing his contract.

  2. Pingback: Caps Risk Losing Todd Reirden to Flames | Washington Capitals News | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: Todd Reirden is a Candidate for Panthers Head Coach Job | NoVa Caps

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