On Monday we were shocked by reports that indicated that head coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals was officially resigning from his position as the team's head coach. The move came as a major shock to hockey fans around the league but it must feel especially stunning for fans of the Washington Capitals organization who just saw their team win their first ever Stanley Cup Championship under the leadership of Trotz behind the bench.
Initial reports on the sudden and stunning resignation from Trotz led me to believe that the decision had been largely motivated by a contract dispute between the two sides. Multiple reports revealed that a clause in Trotz's contract would have automatically extended his contract for 2 more years after he captured the Stanley Cup Champiosnhip, however the contract , over the course of those two years, would have paid him just $1.8 million per season. That is a lot of money to be sure but by the standards of the National Hockey League's elite coaches, some of whom make over $6 million per season, it's not even close to the upper echelon. Trotz is said to have attempted to renogotiate the terms of his deal and resigned after he and the Capitals were unable to reach an agreement, but there may be much much more to this story.
It's almost certainly true that money was a major motivating factor here, but Trotz may have twisted a little extra because of how poorly the Capitals treated him during the course of the regular season. Capitals insider Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post reports that there may have been some resentment from Trotz . After he realized that the Capitals had come very close to replacing him at two different points during the season and furthermore due to the fact that it was well known he would have been fired had the Capitals had another short playoff run.
Trotz may have also felt some bitterness over how the season played out. He wasn’t extended before the season, though two coaches on his staff — associate head coach Todd Reirden and assistant Blaine Forsythe — had contracts that went past this year. Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan was extended in March, but Trotz again remained without an extension even as Washington appeared poised for a fourth straight postseason berth. He was nearly fired twice during the season, and after the organization prohibited Reirden from interviewing elsewhere last summer, there was a sense that he was a coach-in-waiting in case the team decided to move on from Trotz.
Had the Capitals failed to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs this season, the team did not plan to retain Trotz, according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking
If Trotz truly felt slighted by the team he likely would have demanded much more money to remain within the organization and the Capitals may have balked at those demands when Trotz came forward with them. Then again Trotz may have never intended to remain with the Capitals anyways, if you look closely at the video clip below, Trotz appears to confirm to Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella that he's done in Washington.
Crazy to think that this is happening in an organization that just captured the Stanley Cup.