When Adam Oates was fired by the Washington Capitals, Barry Trotz’s name was almost immediately mentioned as a potential replacement. The former Nashville Predators coach told the Washington Post on Monday that there’s mutual interest in that potentially happening:
The Capitals contacted Trotz, who is arguably the most coveted coach currently on the market, not long after they dismissed Adam Oates and George McPhee in late April, and there is mutual interest.
“They were one of the first teams to reach out and asked what my plans were. I told them I would like to coach and they said they would love to talk to me. But obviously, they’re in the search for their general manager right now,” Trotz said in a phone interview. “From my standpoint of wanting another opportunity, a lot of things excite me about the Capitals and the other teams that are out there. A new challenge, to me, is really exciting.”
Trotz spent 15 seasons with the Predators; the Capitals, meanwhile, will have their fourth coach in three years when they hire a replacement for Oates.
The connection between the coach and the franchise is an easy one to make: Trotz’s first professional coaching gig was with the Caps’ AHL affiliate back in 1990 as an assistant, and he was its head coach from 1993-1997.
The fit between the two isn’t so obvious: Trotz’s teams haven’t exactly been known for offensive flourish, while the Capitals have the league’s top goal scorer. But he downplayed that reputation with the Post:
“I think I’m very adaptable. When we had Paul Kariya for a couple years and we were a little deeper at forward we were a pretty high scoring team,” Trotz said, referencing two seasons (2005-2007) in which the Predators averaged more than three goals per game. “You need balance and if you have dynamic people – I’ve always tried to assess the talent and say ‘Okay, how can we get better as a group and how can we win hockey games?’ I’ve played a number of different systems based on our personnel but I like the personnel to dictate the strength. In Nashville, our strength was in net and defense. So our team would take the personality of the top players and that was most often on the back end.”
That and the Predators weren’t exactly luring or trading for top flight offensive talent during his latter years with the franchise.
Florida and Carolina have also reached out to Trotz, who is going to be coaching somewhere this fall. The Capitals are a tricky proposition, given how that locker room is the Bermuda Triangle for coaches.
If he decides he wants to take on the challenge, it would be intriguing to see how these coach killers respond to one that has over a decade of previous head coaching experience in the league – something none of Alex Ovechkin’s coaches have had under former GM George McPhee.
Plus I'm working on a theory that the larger the coach's melon, the better the Capitals do in the playoffs, but we're only just starting trials ...