The Washington Capitals are hiring Peter Laviolette as the franchise's next head coach. The Caps plan to pay all $2.5 million remaining on Laviolette's previous head coaching deal with the Nashville Predators, who fired him in January, and the new contract is expected to be for three years.
Laviolette will replace Todd Reirden, who was fired just three days after the Capitals were eliminated by the New York Islanders in the playoffs. Laviolette, 55, most recently served as the Predators head coach, but was fired in January when Nashville fell to sixth place in the Central Division. He led Nashville to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2016-17 season and, for the most part, has been successful over the course of his 18-year head coaching career in the NHL.
"I'm thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club," Laviolette said. "This is a winning organization with high expectations. I look forward to coaching this tremendous group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team."
Laviolette ranks 16th in all-time victories at 637-425-123, coached the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup win in 2006 and also led the Philadelphia Flyers to another Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2010.
"Peter is a successful NHL head coach who has won a Stanley Cup and brings a wealth of experience to our team," General anager Brian MacLellan said in a press release. "We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential. In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup."
Reirden did lead the Capitals to a 89-46 record in his two seasons as the team's head coach, but Washington lost in the fist round of the playoffs in both of those campaigns. The Capitals hired Reirden, one of their top assistants, after parting ways with Barry Trotz after the team won the Stanley Cup in 2018. Trotz, not able to come to a new contract agreement, left to coach the Islanders, who are currently in the Eastern Conference finals.