- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2017

Capitals coach Barry Trotz admitted if he was younger, him entering next season on the final year of his contract would have bothered him.

But that was then.

“It has 0.0 effect on me actually,” Trotz said. “Not at all. I think it might have an effect 10, 12 years ago for me. Not now. It has zero effect. I’m not worried about that at all.”

Trotz‘ contract has been a large focal point of discussion as the Capitals head into next season. Since being hired three years ago, the Capitals have a 63.4 win percentage under Trotz in the regular season. But the regular season success hasn’t translated to the playoffs with Washington losing in the second round each of his three years.

Still, Trotz has one year left on his contract and there have been no talks of an extension. Trotz, according to capfriendly.com, is paid only $1.5 million per year, among the cheapest deals in the NHL.

“Maybe we do going forward,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said last month. “I think we’re in a period here of uncertainty where we have to drill down some specific stuff. I think we needed improvements throughout our organization, myself included. I think once there’s evidence of those improvements, a contract extension could take place.”

MacLellan echoed a similar statement at the NHL Draft in Chicago last week as well. In a press conference with reporters in May, MacLellan didn’t worry about if Trotz‘ situation would be a distraction among the Capitals.

“I don’t think so,” MacLellan said. “I think our situation matters. We just had a period where everybody’s disappointed we didn’t get accomplished what we wanted to have accomplished. If you had two years left or one year left, it’s the same situation and I think the contract is the result of where we’re at as an organization.”

Across town, Nationals manager Dusty Baker has been open about wanting a new deal, but Trotz said he doesn’t care if a deal gets done during next season. He’s letting his resume speak for itself.

It’s a situation Trotz is familiar with. Trotz spent 15 years as the coach of the Nashville Predators from 1998-2014. The 54-year-old coach oversaw an expansion team and the ups and downs that came with it.

During his tenure, Trotz entered some years with one year left on his contract.

“I was there a long time,” Trotz said.

If the Capitals decide to move on from Trotz, it’s likely he wouldn’t be out of a job long if he wanted to keep coaching. Despite his longevity in Nashville, there’s high turnover in being an NHL coach. Teams, according to the Associated Press, made 38 midseason coaching changes over the last 10 years. Trotz‘ success makes him an attractive candidate for a vacancy.

For the Capitals, associate coach Todd Reirden could be a candidate as Washington’s head coach if they ever move on from Trotz. Reirden was not allowed to interview with teams for head coaching vacancies this summer, The Washington Post reported.

Trotz, however, has moved on and is focused on next season. He has spent the last week overseeing the Capitals’ development camp for its younger prospects.

And if there’s a sense of skepticism that comes along with Trotz‘ comments, he likely doesn’t care. He said if MacLellan wants to discuss a new contract, he’ll talk. 

“Yeah, I think when you worry about stuff, I think I have a resume and been around the league long enough and proved myself,” Trotz said. “I don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal for me. Just think I’m in a good spot.

“Maybe we’ll have our best year,” he said, winking.

Why Trotz winked, it wasn’t clear. But like his future with the Capitals, nothing ever is.

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