(Photo: Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports)
In a press conference held this morning, the Washington Capitals introduced Barry Trotz as the team’s new head coach and Brian MacLellan as the new GM. Capitals owner and CEO, Ted Leonsis, says it was a “bold decision” to replace the head coach and GM at the same time, and he is optimistic for the future of the team following this staffing change. The Capitals are seeking to create a “new identity” for the team, and this transformation will begin with the appointments of Trotz and MacLellan.
Trotz is currently the 4th winningest coach among active NHL coaches (15th all-time) with a career record of 557-479-(60)-100. He served as head coach of the Nashville Predators for 15 years and has been a finalist for the Jack Adams trophy twice in the last 5 years. Trotz is known as a “defensive coach” and hopes to bring a stronger defensive game to the offensively-minded Capitals team: “Defense is about getting the puck quickly so you can do something offensively,” he says, and he notes that from an “outsider perspective” that the Caps have “a lot of talent up front, a lot of goal scoring” but “need balance.” When asked about Ovechkin, Trotz says that he ” really set this franchise going forward when he came in” and plans on having a 1-on-1 meeting with the Caps’ captain to discuss his leadership role and vision for next season’s team: “The team takes on the identity of their top players.”
MacLellan has been with Washington for 13 seasons, serving 7 seasons as the Capitals’ Assistant GM and Director of Player Personnel, and he now becomes the 6th GM in Capitals history. He will also take on the role of Senior Vice President. MacLellan hopes to help create a “hard-working, disciplined team that plays a two-way game” with “better support on the ice” and “5 guys working in sync together.” He brings his own individual experiences and history with the team to the GM position and supports the idea of a “new identity” for the Caps as well.
The Capitals missed the playoffs this year for the first time since the 2006-2007 season, and they placed 9th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 38-30-14.