The Washington Capitals fired head coach Todd Reirden on August 23 after two consecutive first-round exits. Reirden replaced current New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz as the team’s coach after the Capitals got their first-ever Stanley Cup win in 2018.
Reirden was groomed for years by the Capitals to replace Trotz as an assistant on the team’s coaching staff. He finally got his shot after Washington failed to reach a long-term deal with Trotz, causing him to leave for New York.
“We have higher expectations for our team, and we felt a fresh approach in leadership was necessary,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We would like to thank Todd for all of his hard work and efforts with our organization. Todd has been a big part of our team for more than half a decade, including our Stanley Cup run in 2018, and we wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
Reirden, 49, posted an 89-46-16 regular-season record during his tenure with the Capitals. However, he failed to win a single playoff series with a very similar roster to the Capitals’ 2018 cup winning squad.
The Capitals fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games during the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. This year, the Capitals ended up as the No. 3 seed after a round-robin seeding round to kick off the NHL bubble restart. Washington then fell to Trotz’s Islanders in five games during the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
With superstar winger Alex Ovechkin still producing at a high level and a talented veteran roster surrounding him, the Capitals’ Stanley Cup window is still considered wide open. Any highly regarded NHL coach would surely not want to miss the chance to coach a team as talented as Washington. Mike Babcock, Bruce Boudreau, Peter Laviolette and Gerard Gallant are some of the top names available to replace Reirden as the Capitals’ next head coach.