With Todd Reirden out, the Capitals are in need of a new head coach. Luckily, there are plenty of names to choose from. Here's an extensive list of possible coaches the team could consider.
Arniel has been a member of Reirden's staff for the past two years in charge of the wingers and penalty kill. He has also been a head coach in the past in a brief stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Considering Reirden was an assistant with the Caps before taking over as head coach and the move did not produce great results, I have a hard time believing Arniel would be a realistic option unless the players demand it.
Speaking of unrealistic options....
Babcock is perhaps the biggest name out there so he deserves to be mentioned, but I would be stunned if this is a route the Caps wanted to go. Yes, Babcock won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 and yes he led Team Canada to two Olympic gold medals. He also crashed and burned with a skill-laden team in Toronto and numerous stories came out after he was gone of some of his bizarre coaching methods such as making a rookie Mitch Marner rank teammates from the hardest-working to the least and then sharing that list with the players, scratching Jason Spezza for the home opener and berating Johan Franzen to the point he had a nervous breakdown.
It has been less than a year since Babcock was fired by Toronto and I'm guessing he needs more time to rehab his image before an NHL team takes a chance on him.
Boy would this be fun.
In terms of regular-season success, you can't get much better than Boudreau who boasts a 567-302-115 record 14 years as an NHL head coach, including five with the Capitals. The Rock the Red Era really began when Boudreau took over for Glen Hanlon in 2007. He would like to remain an NHL head coach and you would think he'd jump at the opportunity to return to Washington. He was the head coach in Hershey before getting promoted. He could be a good candidate both for the present and with an eye toward the future when the team will have to turn to younger players as it transitions out of the Alex Ovechkin championship era.
But the biggest priority, for now, is to win a Cup while the team is still in a position to compete and Boudreau's weakness as a coach has always been in the payoffs. Only once in his 14 years has he been able to lead a team past the second round and he has been at the helm for six one-and-done postseasons.
Bylsma was promoted midseason from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2008-09 to the NHL and led Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup - at the expense of the Caps in the playoffs, of course. Since then, success has remained elusive. He was fired by Pittsburgh in 2014 and named head coach of the Buffalo Sabres in 2015. He was fired after two subpar years and zero playoff appearances there. He has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings.
As the head coach of the Hershey Bears, Carbery deserves to be mentioned even if he would be a long shot. He has been a head coach at the OHL, ECHL and AHL levels, but has no NHL coaching experience even as an assistant.
Carbery has been with the Bears for only two years but has done an incredible job there and Hershey was poised to make a playoff run in 2020 before the season was canceled due to the coronavirus. He has a commanding presence about him. Each time I have spoken to him, I have walked away impressed.
With only two years of AHL head coaching experience, I am not sure the time is right for Carbery, but he is someone I believe we will see in the NHL sooner rather than later. Would you roll the dice now?
Gallant did a masterful job leading the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in the team's first year before the organization said, "what have you done for us lately?" and fired him in his third season this past January. Surprisingly it may have been the right move as harsh as it was. The Golden Knights did get better and are poised at making another run this year. No team looked better in the first round of the playoffs.
Overall, Gallant has a 270-216-4-51 coaching record in nine years as an NHL head coach. He also evidently has a shelf life as he has never lasted anywhere as a head coach for more than three seasons.
Lambert was a member of Trotz's staff who followed Trotz to New York. He was a head coach in the AHL for four years before becoming an NHL assistant and has been waiting for his opportunity ever since.
The optics of hiring another former Trotz assistant with no NHL head coaching experience, however, may be a tough look for the franchise. And Lambert might say "thanks, but no thanks" anyway. He will get an opportunity somewhere else.
Laviolette is one of the bigger names on the market with 18 years of NHL head coaching experience, one Stanley Cup (Carolina, 2006) and two more conference titles (Philadelphia, 2010 and Nashville, 2017) to his name. As a big name, he would also come with a big price tag.
I know Caps fans won't want to hear this, but it is worth mentioning that price will be a factor considering they still have to pay Reirden for the length of his contract and because we are in a pandemic and everyone is feeling the financial squeeze including Monumental Sports.
Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin, Mark Recchi
All three of these coaches were assistants with the Pittsburgh Penguins until they were all fired in August after Pittsburgh was upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round. I lumped them all together because, though they are available, I view all three as assistants more than viable head coaching options.
Gonchar is the big name for Caps fans as he spent the bulk of his playing career in Washington. The issue with him is he does not have much experience. He was a developmental coach for two years and an assistant coach for three all with the Penguins. Hiring a former Caps player with no NHL head coaching experience is something this team has tried before with Adam Oates and...well, let's just say the team would be wise not to go down that route again. I could see Gonchar being a possibility as an assistant coach to work with the defense though.
Like Gonchar, Recchi also has no head-coaching experience. He was a senior advisor for two years in Dallas before becoming a development coach for Pittsburgh in 2014 and then an assistant coach in 2017.
Martin is a different story as he has been coaching since 1983, has over 1,200 games of NHL head coaching experience with Florida, Montreal (we won't mention the 2010 playoff series vs. the Caps, oops, we did), Ottawa and St. Louis and won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year in 1998-99. Last time he was a head coach was back in the 2011-12 season, however, and it's not like there have not been any job openings since then. I think his niche in the NHL is as an assistant and would be surprised if he gets any real traction for the Caps' job.
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Capitals' coaching candidates to keep an eye on with Todd Reirden out originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington