Washington Capitals’ head coach Barry Trotz is entering the fourth and final year of his original four-year deal with the club. With no signs of a new contract on the immediate horizon, Trotz’s future with the Capitals following this season remains unclear. Is the writing on the wall? Is this Trotz’s last chance at the helm of the Capitals?
Capitals’ General Manager Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post in late May “We haven’t talked anything about contract yet. Maybe we do going forward. I think we’re in a period here of uncertainty where we have to drill down some specific stuff. I think we needed improvements throughout our organization, myself included. I think once there’s evidence of those improvements, a contract extension could take place.”
MacLellan was again asked about the current status of negotiating a new contract for Trotz at the recent NHL entry draft in Chicago. MacLellan said, “We’re trying to get through the draft.” So, might that come up later in the summer? “Maybe it could. We’ll see.”
Both the Capitals and Barry Trotz are in a tight spot right now. No extension before the season opener could send an ominous message to Trotz, the club, and its fans. However, signing Trotz to an extension in these uncertain times could potentially cost the Capitals quite a bit of money, should a change be desired following the 2017-2018 season.
BRINGING UP THE REIRDEN?
Capitals’ coach Todd Reirden was promoted to “associate coach” on August 26th of last summer. The announcement of the promotion seemed generally innocuous at the time. Reirden was about to fill in for Coach Trotz while Trotz was coaching Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey. But there was a lot more to it.
Note on coaching searches: hearing WASH didnt allow interviews w/Todd Reirden. Word is he was promoted last year, they wanted to keep him.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 15, 2017
According to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman, Reirden received the promotion to associate coach with the stipulation that he could not talk to other teams. That wasn’t public at the time. With Barry Trotz heading into the final year of his contract, the caveat takes on obvious added significance. Reirden has two years remaining on his current contract with the Capitals.
READING THE “TEA LEAVES”
If one were to connect the dots (which is always a dangerous proposition), one could logically project a plan, at least for the 2017-2018 season. A plan that gives Trotz one more season to prove he can take the team to the next level.
One could surmise that the Capitals front office will look to Trotz and the Capitals to have a very productive season. What that exactly means is somewhat unclear. With significant roster changes taking place this post season, what are reasonable expectations for Trotz and the Capitals?
By Jon Sorensen