The Trotz Dilemma: Should the Capitals Re-Sign Barry Trotz? (Readers Poll)

During the Capitals bye-week this week we’ve brought you a couple of articles that have looked at big decisions just ahead for Caps management. Most recently we published a piece on Jay Beagle, and the decision to re-sign him this summer. Today’s “decision” piece centers on bench boss Barry Trotz and his expiring contract. 

The 55-year-old head Coach is in the final year of his four-year deal with the Capitals. It’s no secret that things have been pretty quiet on the negotiations front, at least publicly or within the local media. At this point it’s looking more and more like nothing will get done until after the season. There’s always a chance that the two sides come to an agreement, particularly if it’s for a shorter extension (two years or less). However, with the playoffs looming, its time for both sides to highten focus on the trade deadline and postseason run.

So should the Capitals extend Trotz’ contract? Lets take a look at the resume Trotz has built to date.

Simply put, Barry Trotz and the Capitals have been the best regular season team during Trotz’ tenure. Since his arrival in Washington, the Trotz-led Capitals have the most wins in the league during the regular season, earning the most points over the three and a half seasons. The Capitals are also a league-best in ‘Goals For’ and ‘Goals Against’, and have had the league’s best power play success rate over that period. Here are just a few regular season stats for the Capitals under the Trotz administration (includes games from this season):

It’s difficult to find anything too significant with Trotz’ coaching or the results related to his regular season resume. Trotz regular season records:

  • 2014-2015 – 45-26-11 (10th best in NHL)
  • 2015-2016 – 56-18-8 (Best in NHL)
  • 2016-2017 – 55-19-8 (Best in NHL)
  • 2017-2018 – 28-14-3 (45 games, 3rd best in NHL)

Of course the story changes somewhat dramatically for postseason play. In his first postseason with the Caps, after eliminating the Islanders in the first round 4-2, Barry and the Caps held a 3-1 series lead over the Rangers, only to end up losing a decisive game seven. The following two seasons were second round losses to the Penguins following challenging, first-round 4-2 series wins over the Flyers and the Maple Leafs.

Barry’s cumulative postseason record with the Capitals is a pedestrian 20-19.  Trotz’ career postseason coaching record in the NHL is an underwhelming 39-50 (.438). Probably not enough to garner a new contract.

This is probably an uncomfortable topic for most of our readers, because we all know, personal accolades do not equate to Stanley Cup Championships. But in the context of this article, it’s worth noting Trotz’ achievements:

  • NHL All-Star Game Head Coach (2015-2016, 2017-2018)
  • NHL Coach of the Years (Jack Adams Award) winner (2015-2016)
  • World Cup Gold Medal (Coach) (2016-2017)

The dichotomy of success between the regular season and postseason is the crux of the challenge ahead for GM Brian MacLellan and Capitals’ management. While Trotz is not the Caps first bench boss to have a dominating presence in the regular season, only to falter and fade away in the post season (See Bruce Boudreau), the decision lies on estimating Trotz’ ability to get over the playoff hump, sometime in the near future. This is where things get a bit murky.

So the question that begs to be asked, what will Coach Trotz have to achieve this season in order to receive a contract extension. We reached out to our readers on Twitter and here’s how they responded:

It’s fairly clear that Caps Nation is divided on this. Approximately 59% of Caps fans want to see improvement in the playoffs this year, requiring the Caps to make it past the second round, or feel the Caps should start looking for a new bench boss. However, a full third feel he should be re-signed, no matter what.

So, what do you think the Caps should do?

By Jon Sorensen

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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7 Responses to The Trotz Dilemma: Should the Capitals Re-Sign Barry Trotz? (Readers Poll)

  1. Dexter says:

    Given that no coach since Murray in ’98 has taken the Caps past the 2nd round and no previous coach has been let go for that particular reason, it would seem inappropriate to change the precedent for Trotz.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Damn skippy resign him! Taught Ovie how to play D and brought respectability to this team. Check that, to the organization.

  3. Howard Silberstein says:

    It is obvious that the coach has the ears of the players no matter the makeup of the team. The players respond well to his leadership development and skill development goals.
    While having the cup has been an ultimate goal it is secondary to ensuring that the CAPS have the necessary motivation tools to achieve the cup. Trotz gives that support many times over.
    Just look how he has integrated the rookies this season to achieve team objectives.

  4. Anonymous says:

    remember those crap years where the caps were playing guess who’s head coach? I really don’t want to go back to that, One of the best things Trotz has provided has been stability in the coaching staff. Caps just extend Trotz already.

  5. Pingback: What Will Happen in Regards to Barry Trotz’ Future? | NoVa Caps

  6. Mike says:

    How does a team like the Caps. Come out in Tampa and dominate a team so badly on their home ice. And then return home take the ice and skate as if they can’t find their ass with both hands. While Coach Berry stands on the bench as if he’s waiting for someone to tell him what to do. When the caps are floundering call a time out. Pull a John Tortorella call the guys over and light them up, watching Mike SULLIVAN he screams on the bench during the whole game. Perhaps Washington needs a (AED) on the bench, artificial external defibrillator, so when berry needs to wake up, one of the trainers can hook him up. The first game in Tampa when the caps went down three to nothing in the first period pull Holtby, Grubauer is decent, wake Holtby up, or perhaps Braden is tired from making to many commercials.. I don’t know this is just my opinion I could be wrong.

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