In a move that comes as little surprise, the Capitals have officially announced that they have named Todd Reirden their new head coach. He takes the place of Barry Trotz who resigned earlier in the month and later became head coach of the Islanders. GM Brian MacLellan released the following statement on the hiring:
“We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club. Based on his coaching experience, communication abilities, his approach to the game and the respect he commands in our locker room, we feel that Todd has earned this opportunity. Todd has played an integral part in helping lead our team to the Stanley Cup championship and we feel his appointment as head coach will enable our organization to transition seamlessly into next season and beyond.”
Reirden was long viewed as Washington’s head coach in waiting as the team had denied him permission to pursue other opportunities going back to last summer. MacLellan was certainly fixated on him being Trotz’s successor as ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski notes (Twitter link) that no other interviews for the position were conducted.
This will be Reirden’s first head coaching job at the NHL level but not his first time running a team as he was at the helm of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for parts of two seasons nearly a decade ago. He’s certainly no stranger to the Capitals as he has been in the organization since 2014-15 serving as an assistant or associate coach.
After running the defense during that stretch, Reirden will now be tasked with attempting to guide Washington back to what they hope will be another Stanley Cup run. The team has been quite busy this offseason keeping their players in the fold as they have already finalized new contracts with defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny as well as winger Devante Smith-Pelly.
With this hiring, all 31 head coaching vacancies around the NHL are now filled.