As we head into the summer months, it appears more and more likely another respected coach will go into the 2017-18 season as a lame duck.
Barry Trotz will start his fourth season as head coach of the Washington Capitals, but after three straight exits in the second round of the playoffs his position is anything but secure. When Caps GM Brian MacLellan held his season-ending media availability on May 30, he said he would do a “thorough evaluation” of the team including the coaching position. MacLellan committed to start next season with Trotz, but outside of that it didn’t sound as though he was giving the coach much of a leash.
“We haven’t talked anything about contract yet,” MacLellan said at the time. “Maybe we do going forward. I think we’re in a period here of uncertainty where we have to drill down on 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 asked again about contract negotiations with Trotz over draft weekend in Chicago by Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. And again MacLellan said no talks of that kind had yet taken place.
When MacLellan was asked about an extension for Trotz this past weekend at the NHL 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,” MacLellan said.
Prior to joining Washington, Trotz coached the Nashville Predators for the first 15 years of that franchise’s existence. He has yet to reach the third round of the playoffs.
So far this off-season Vancouver, Buffalo, Florida, Los Angeles and Dallas have named new head coaches. Tippett no doubt will be sought-after the next time a coaching vacancy opens up. Should the Capitals start slow and decide to part ways with Trotz, he could also become a target for them.