In one fell swoop, the Washington Capitals announced a new coach and general manager on Monday.
In a move that has been anticipated for a while, the Capitals named former Nashville Predators bench boss Barry Trotz the new coach. As for the open GM position, well the Caps are staying in-house, promoting Brian MacLellan to the role.
"We are extremely pleased to name Brian MacLellan the team's general manager and welcome Barry Trotz to Washington as the Capitals coach," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. "After conducting an extensive search for a general manager, we determined that Brian was the best candidate to help us reach our ultimate goal, winning the Stanley Cup. We have witnessed his abilities firsthand, and we have tremendous respect for how he manages people and situations. We feel he has relevant, in-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of our franchise and will be forceful in addressing them. Brian always has displayed tremendous professionalism, passion and commitment to the Capitals. He has his own unique approach, and we are confident in his abilities to lead this organization to new heights.
"We are also excited to welcome Barry back to the Capitals organization. Barry is a highly respected and accomplished coach who brings us a wealth of experience. He possesses high character and the exact leadership qualities we look for in the head coach. He was the only coach we coveted, and we feel he is an ideal fit to help lead our club."
Trotz had been the coach in Nashville since the franchise's inaugural season in 1998-99, but he was part of the Capitals coaching staff prior to taking that job, hence Leonsis welcoming Trotz back to DC.
Since he was let go by the Predators, Trotz has been a hot name in the coaching community and it was just a matter of time and where he would land on his feet because everybody knew it wouldn't be long. The fit in Washington seemed natural from the start, even if Trotz isn't the kind of coach you would think would suit Alex Ovechkin and Co. all that well.
But we'll have to wait and see how Trotz can coach offense when he has the offensive talent at his disposal, something he never had too much of in Nashville. Meanwhile, the Caps hope Trotz can solidify the defense, which was a major issue this season for Washington.
"I am very excited to join the Washington Capitals and want to thank Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick and Brian MacLellan for this opportunity," Trotz said. "This is a great organization with a strong foundation and a tremendous fan base. I look forward to working with this group of talented players and the quality front office staff this team has assembled."
As for MacLellan, well it's an interesting choice. When the Capitals fired GM George McPhee after 17 years on the job, part of the reason they did so was stressing a new approach and new eyes in the organization. MacLellan has been with the team since 2000, serving as the assistant GM for the last seven seasons.
It's not that he's an unworthy candidate, it's that you always have to wonder about promoting the man under the one you just fired and if it's the sound strategy or follows the aim you established.
The good news, though, is that he knows the organization well already and is aware of its strenghts as well as weaknesses. Having that base of knowledge as the summer quickly approaches should help the Caps do what they need to do in the offseason.