The Washington Capitals announced on Monday that head coach Barry Trotz has resigned just 11 days after leading the franchise to its first Stanley Cup title. Trotz, who was on the final year of his contract in Washington this past season, triggered a clause with the Stanley Cup win that added a two-year extension. But even with the extension and a reported pay raise, Trotz was still going to be one of the lower-paid coaches in the NHL, which prompted him to walk and seek a better deal, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.
Barry Trotz had a clause in his contract where if he won the Stanley Cup he could accept a two-year extension with a $300k bump in salary. Obviously since he was only making $1.5M, low by today's NHL coach's standards, a $1.8-million salary doesn't cut it. So Trotz stepped down.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 18, 2018
Trotz is now a free agent and can speak to any other team.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 18, 2018
The Capitals released a statement on Trotz's decision:
Barry Trotz informed the organization today of his decision to resign as head coach of the Washington Capitals. We are obviously disappointed by Barry's decision, but would like to thank Barry for all his efforts the past four years and for helping bring the Stanley Cup to Washington. Barry is a man of high character and integrity and we are grateful for his leadership and for all that he has done for our franchise.
As for how much Trotz was making, it wasn't pennies, but it wasn't up to market. The two-year extension came with a bonus of $300,000, which would make his salary $1.8 million. By turning down the extension, he is, officially, a free agent and eligible to speak to any team that wants him.
In 15 seasons with the Predators, Trotz had seven playoff appearances. He signed with the Capitals in 2014 with a 53 percent points percentage for his career. Since joining the Capitals, Trotz has a 68 percent points percentage and a Stanley Cup championship -- not to mention a playoff appearance in every season.
Trotz's $1.5 million salary was the same as Coyotes' coach Rick Tocchet before the $300,000 kicker came in. For some frame of reference, the Maple Leafs' Mike Babcock makes $6.25 million per year, the Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville is making $6 million annually, and the Montreal Canadiens' Claude Julien makes $5 million annually, according to figures compiled by Cap Friendly. They're the top three reported salaries among NHL coaches, and two of those three teams didn't make the playoffs last season, hence Trotz's feeling that he was being undervalued.
Trotz's record in Washington was 205-89-34. His 57.1 percent win percentage in the postseason is the best in Capitals' history. This move becomes especially interesting when considering that the Islanders, led by a hungry Lou Lamoriello, are now in the market for a new head coach after parting ways with Doug Weight. Should they pull the trigger and hire Trotz, it may also galvanize prized free agent John Tavares to re-sign with the the franchise in free agency. No other team -- outside of the Capitals now -- is looking for a head coach.