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:
Barry Trotz will be offered a new deal and return next season, if:
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) January 16, 2018
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