According to a report from Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos, Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has signed a new multi-year contract extension.
“Scratch Brian MacLellan off the list of general managers need new contracts, it’s my understanding that Brian and the Capitals have agreed to a multi-year deal moving forward…”
As Kypreos points out, MacLellan entered the season in the final year of his contract, but this latest development assures that he’ll be steering the ship in Washington D.C. for the foreseeable future. MacLellan was named Capitals GM in May of 2014 following the dismissal of former long-time GM and now Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee. Under MacLellan, the Capitals have put up three consecutive 100+ point seasons, but have failed to get past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
One of MacLellan’s biggest moves during his tenure as team GM has been the hiring of head coach Barry Trotz, who just so happens to be in the final year of his deal. So… what does MacLellan’s new contract mean for Trotz’s job security? Will the veteran coach be back behind the Caps’ bench next season? How much of his future is dependant on his team’s playoff success?
“It’s gotten to the point where if he’s not signed soon … other teams are going to come out looking for him perhaps,” said Kypreos’ colleague Chris Johnston during Saturday night’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
“Barry’s future in Washington is very much uncertain.”
Kypreos was quick to point out however, that a win can change EVERYTHING in DC. “Of course a trip to the Final or a Stanley Cup win could change all of that real quick.
For what it’s worth, insider Elliotte Friedman points out that the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers all reached out the the Capitals over the offseason about hiring Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden for their vacant head coach positions. The Capitals denied each team… so it’s clear that they have a plan in mind for Reirden moving forward. Potentially as Trotz’s replacement? Time will tell. More importantly, the Capitals’ playoff performance will tell.
Interesting times in D.C. Despite being a Stanley Cup favorite a year ago, there's been little talk about the Capitals as a true Stanley Cup contender this season. Despite waving goodbye to free-agents like Justin Williams, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason, the Capitals have been a surprisingly strong team and have led the NHL's Metropolitan Division for most of the season. Captain Alex Ovechkin is putting up another Hart Trophy candidate season and just last night cracked 40 goals for the 9th time in his outstanding career. Ovechkin usually takes the brunt of criticism for the Capitals' failings and will likely do so again if the team can't make a healthy Cup run, but how much of this team's shortcomings are on MacLellan and Trotz?