Since the Capitals’ season concluded in mid-May, numerous media outlets have been reporting that Capitals Associate Coach Todd Reirden has been interviewing for open head coaching positions, including vacancies with the Florida Panthers and the Buffalo Sabres. Well, a recent report seems to add a bit of a twist to those reports.
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported early Thursday evening that, in fact, no interviews ever took place.
If true, one can surmise the Capitals may have Reirden in their long-term plans and that he could potentially be a future head coach for the Capitals.
Reirden was promoted by the Capitals to Associate Coach on August 29th of last year and was the head coach during training camp as Head Coach Barry Trotz was in Toronto for the World Cup of Hockey. Hired by the Capitals three years ago to help manage the defensive units, Reirden has turned the Caps’ blueline into one of the best in the NHL and their penalty kill has made substantial improvements under his tutelage.
Defensemen such as Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt, and John Carlson, have all seen their play improve under the guidance of the former NHL defenseman. Both Schmidt and Orlov stepped up this past season and proved themselves worthy of top minutes on the backend.
The fact that Reirden was not allowed to interview for a head coaching opening, an opportunity that Barry Trotz has stated every one of his assistants will get the chance to pursue if they wish do to so, is telling. After yet another early playoff exit, by arguably the best team in franchise history, and General Manager Brian MacLellan stating that he and Trotz have philosophical differences, it’s entirely possible that Reirden is the next in line for the head gig in D.C.
Trotz has just one more season left on his contract and MacLellan stated that an extension is not something the Caps would be exploring this offseason. It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that the 2017-18 season could be a do-or-die season for Trotz. While a number of changes will be coming to the roster in the coming weeks, it is expected that the Caps will remain in contention for a Stanley Cup. Anything short of that could POTENTIALLY see Reirden taking the reins in Washington.
By Jon Sorensen