In a unsurprising move even if it shocked some in the hockey community, Barry Trotz resigned from the Capitals. He will no longer coach the team he finally guided to its first Stanley Cup. He becomes the fourth coach to win the Cup and walk away.
Instead, the proven Cup winner, who did a masterful job this Spring, will become the biggest coaching free agent. Considering that he was only making $1.5 million, it’s understandable why he left his post. He was also a lame duck coach without a contract unless the Capitals won. Even though they did, he didn’t want to stay for two more years for a slight raise when he can get more money on the market.
When you have a new coach like the Rangers’ David Quinn getting paid much more, it speaks to how cheap Washington was. Even though I respect owner Ted Leonsis, there’s no way Trotz should’ve been paid so little. At least in coaching terms. He’s been around the game for two decades after coming over from Nashville.
As for who could come calling, look no further than the Islanders in Brooklyn. With Lou Lamoriello at the helm making sweeping changes, Trotz makes plenty of sense for a team looking to change its image. They need a good coach who can change the culture. I’ve thought for a while this was the move Lamoriello would make once Trotz became available. Now that he is, I expect him to move quickly.
The only other candidate is Toronto Marlies Calder Cup winner Sheldon Keefe. A rising coach who eventually could take over for Mike Babcock with the Maple Leafs if he stays. But he’s never coached in the NHL before.
The Islanders under Lamoriello are operating differently. They’ll likely re-sign John Tavares and make other key moves to improve their playoff chances in a tough division. It seems likely that Trotz will be the next coach. We’ll see what happens.