The Washington Capitals hold a 2-1 series lead over Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final with game four in Washington tomorrow night.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz's contract expires after this season and many around the NHL believed that he would not be back in Washington next year if the Capitals didn't advance in the playoffs.
Renaud Lavoie said that part of the reason that the Rangers are taking a slow approach in their search for a new coach is because they want to see what Trotz's future in Washington could be. (Journal de Montreal)
Rick Carpiniello wrote recently that he isn't sure Trotz has been considered as a candidate but adds that he has a reputation as someone who can develop players from his time in the AHL and with Nashville. (The Athletic)
The belief around many in the NHL is that Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden is likely to replace Trotz if he does not return.
Reirden reportedly is under contract with the Capitals through next season and has been in charge of the Capitals defense and power play. (Washington Post)
He was previously a finalist for the Calgary Flames head coaching job in 2016, was looked at by the Devils in 2015 and has been credited with helping the development of players like Kris Letang and John Carlson from his time in Pittsburgh and with the Caps. (NBC Sports Washington)
The Capitals reportedly did not let him interview for potential head coaching jobs last summer despite interest from other teams. (RMNB)
If the Capitals win the Stanley Cup and Trotz does not return as head coach, it would be the first time that has happened since Scott Bowman retired after the 2001-02 season. If Trotz wins, doesn't return to the Caps and joins the Rangers or someone else, he would be the first coach since Mike Keenan in 1994 to win a Stanley Cup but coach a new team the following season.
Adam Rotter: As the Rangers take their time and possibly wait to speak with Sheldon Keefe, it also makes sense to wait to speak with Trotz and or Reirden. If Trotz returns to the Capitals then you have to think that Reirden becomes a top candidate for the Rangers. He's considered to be one of the top assistant coaches in the league and, like Keefe, will be a coach somewhere within the next couple of years. If Trotz doesn't return, and Reirden takes over for the Caps, the Rangers should speak with Trotz. He would certainly be at the other end of the spectrum, compared to Sheldon Keefe, but he's been incredibly successful, coached an expansion team and has helped the Caps develop into a team that is more than just Alex Ovechkin. I think Trotz would be a good choice for the Rangers but if he doesn't win this year and doesn't return to the Capitals, he may take a break from the NHL for the first time since 1998 an wait, like Alain Vigneault, for a job to open up with a team that might be closer to winning.