On Monday, Stanley Cup winning head coach Barry Trotz resigned from his position with the Washington Capitals effective immediately following unsuccessful contract renegotiations. Trotz reportedly had a clause in his contract that enabled him to sign a two year extension with the team should he win the Stanley Cup. That extension is believed to have come with a $300,000 annual raise, but given how much coach’s contracts have skyrocketed in recent seasons, Trotz believes that his value is greater on the open market and thus, he has resigned him position so that he can explore other opportunities.
The head coach did not waste time and after meeting with the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Trotz inked a long-term deal in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon. Just in time for the draft... Once again, Trotz is not wasting time.
According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the former Capitals head coach is making the right arguments for team executive Lou Lamoriello to make a major move tonight at the NHL Entry draft, which includes one of his former player.
“I think it’s going to be very interesting today. We’ve linked Philipp Grubauer, the Washington backup goalie, to the Islanders. I hear there’s a lot of teams who have asked about Grubauer, maybe as many as 10. A GM I spoke to during the week who said he was interested said he thinks the price is going to be higher than many of them expected because there is so much interest," explained Friedman on Friday morning on the air of Toronto Sportsnet's 590.
Right away the end of the Capitals' Stanley Cup run, The Athletic's Craig Custance reported that Grubauer would be on the move before the end of the month. Custance noted that Washington will have to work around their tight cap space in order to sign star defenseman and pending free agent John Carlson to a lengthy contract extension. One way to achieve that is trading the talented backup goalie.
“He’s getting moved for sure,” said one executive to Custance.
At the start of the postseason, the Caps were at the centre of a netminder controversy, when Grubauer was chosen to start in the first contest of the playoffs over Braden Holtby. Grubauer had been the better goaltender this season, posting a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average in 35 games. Holtby, meanwhile, regressed significantly, as he registered just a .907 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA in 54 contests.
However, this was enough to push Holtby and the Caps have trusted him in the second and third rounds, all the way to the Cup final against the Golden Knights, Custance also believed the Islanders will have no choice but to jump on the opportunity of landing Grubauer in a major trade:
"A likely destination would be the Islanders, who need to address their goaltending as part of their pitch to keep John Tavares. The Islanders have back-to-back first-round picks and could use one of them in a deal to land Grubauer, similar to the deal that Lou Lamoriello struck with Vancouver to bring Cory Schneider to New Jersey."
Now with Trotz behind the bench, you better believe the Islanders will have the right arguments to convince Grubauer to be their No.1 goalie.
Now with Trotz in place and possibly a talented starting goalie in between the pipes, we bet the Isles can make one more push to keep John Tavares in the roster...