The succession plan was in place, and on Friday it was Todd Reirden’s time.
The Washington Capitals have announced that the 47-year-old Reirden will be their new head coach, replacing Barry Trotz, who resigned 11 days ago following their Stanley Cup victory.
“We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “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. Todd has played an integral part in helping lead our team to the Stanley Cup championship and we feel his appointment as head coach will enable our organization to transition seamlessly into next season and beyond.”
Reirden, who played 183 NHL games with four teams, was hired as one of Trotz’s assistant coaches in 2014 after four years with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2016 he was promoted to associate coach, showing just how much the franchise valued him. It was also an opportunity, as MacLellan said earlier this month, to groom him to become an NHL head coach, whether in Washington or somewhere else.
“The players all know him, they’re comfortable with him,” MacLellan said last week. “He’ll have a good feel for personalities, how to motivate people and so forth.”
Since Trotz’s departure, it was pretty clear that Capitals players were excited at the prospect at Reirden getting the promotion.
“He’s a guy who’s a very good communicator, very good specialist, and has lots of respect from us,” said captain Alex Ovechkin.
Under Trotz, Reirden was in charge of the defensemen and a power play that has consistently been among the league’s best. Now his first NHL coaching gig is leading the defending champions. No pressure.