The Washington Capitals announced Friday that associate coach Todd Reirden has been promoted to replace Barry Trotz as the team’s head coach.
“We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club,” Brian MacLellan, the team’s general manager, said in a statement.
“Based on his coaching experience, communication abilities, his approach to the game and the respect he commands in our locker room, we feel that Todd has earned this opportunity.”
It’s the first head-coaching opportunity for Reirden, who was being groomed for the job under Trotz in Washington.
Earlier this week, defenseman John Carlson — one day after signing an eight-year, $64 million contract — told reporters he hoped the team would name Reirden coach.
“Yeah, I think that would be a lot easier of a transition,” Carlson told reporters at a news conference on Monday. “But that’s not my call to make.”
MacLellan said last week he would sit down with Reirden, who turned 47 on Monday, for a formal interview this week. The job became vacant when Trotz resigned last Monday following an inability to agree on a new contract. Trotz was hired by the New York Islanders last Thursday.
Carlson, 28, credited Reirden — who has worked primarily with the team’s defense and power play since being hired in 2014 — with his own development and for the success of the Capitals’ defensemen.
“I thought he was crucial for my career,” Carlson said. “And (he) just changed kind of a few things how I looked at the game, changed a few things with the D that I think really benefited everyone on D and made it pretty clear what he expected of us and allowed us to go out there and do the rest.”
Carlson added he would expect many of his teammates to support Reirden’s promotion.
“Guys have a lot of respect for Todd,” he said. “And if that’s the case, then he’s going to do a great job.”
The Capitals also addressed another of Carlson’s wishes on Friday, re-signing his defensive partner, Michal Kempny, to a four-year, $10 million deal.
—Field Level Media