Three years ago, Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz was in the process of assembling his new coaching staff after taking the reins as the bench boss in Washington. One of the men he recruited was former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, who was renowned for his work with the defensemen in Pittsburgh. After three very successful years in Washington and a number of head coach vacancies around the NHL, is Reirden destined to become a head coach elsewhere this summer?
According to NHL Insider Chuck Gormley (formerly the Capitals Insider for Comcast Sportsnet MidAtlantic) on a recent appearance on the NHL Network, Reirden is among the possible candidates to become the bench boss for the Florida Panthers. With other teams such as the Los Angeles Kings also in need of a new head coach, the demand for his services will likely be high. After being promoted to Associate Coach prior to this season, Reirden, who was considered for a few coaching vacancies last offseason, has strengthened his chances to become a Head Coach this go-around.
Since coming to Washington, Reirden has helped the Capitals become arguably, the best defensive team in the NHL. Under his tutelage, players such as John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Karl Alzner, and Nate Schmidt have seen their roles increase and their game improved. Carlson, Orlov, Alzner, and Schmidt have all had career years offensively under Reirden’s guidance, and all have improved defensively.
Reirden’s new title isn’t just for show either. While Trotz was in Toronto for the World Cup of Hockey as an assistant coach with Team Canada in September, Reirden ran the Capitals’ training camp and helped make decisions on roster moves. The Capitals’ massive amount of success during Reirden’s time in the District has also helped draw attention to the team’s talented and superior coaching staff. In the Trotz era, the Capitals have gone 156-63-27 in the regular season, won the Metropolitan Division, and President’s Trophy (best record in the regular season) twice.
In the span of three years, Todd Reirden has gone from being a virtually unproven coach to being one of the top assistants in the game. And while there’s no doubt the Capitals would love to keep him for next season, Reirden deserves and has earned a chance to become a Head Coach, despite how much losing him will be to the Caps.
By Michael Fleetwood