- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the crowd at Tuesday’s Stanley Cup parade that “we’re gonna do it again” next year. If that was only an implication of his desire to return to the team, his comments Wednesday made it clear.

Trotz told reporters Wednesday that he wants to return as head coach of the team, and he is talking with general manager Brian MacLellan about a contract extension.

“There’s some things that we have to work out,” Trotz said. “I’ve talked to Mac. If we can get them worked out, then there’s no question. I love the group of guys. I love the situation I’m in with the team, the location for my son and my wife and all that. So all that’s in place. There’s some issues that we’ve got to just work through, and we will and we’ll go from there.”

Trotz, 55, has coached the Capitals since 2014 after 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators. His contract expires on June 30, and if no extension or new deal is reached by then, Trotz would become a free agent.

MacLellan wouldn’t say whether he was confident a deal would be reached, but confirmed that the two sides were going to try.

“I talked to Barry this morning. I’ll talk to ownership over the next week or so and we’ll continue to discuss everything and see where it goes,” MacLellan said.

At the Capitals‘ “breakdown day” on Wednesday, also casually known as “locker cleanout day,” players chimed in that they wanted Trotz back, starting with the captain.

“Yeah, why not? Why wouldn’t you?” Alex Ovechkin said.

Others talked about Trotz the man as well as Trotz the coach. Tom Wilson called him “first and foremost a great person.”

“He changed this team with a family mentality,” Wilson said. “I have no idea what is going to happen. I don’t really look much into that. I’d play for him 100 percent.”

Barry was the right coach for this group,” Matt Niskanen added. “Barry is a real solid human being, just a great dude. The things that he preaches turn out to be really important. It worked for our group. He’s a heck of a coach, fun to play for, I think everyone has a ton of respect for him.”

Trotz had an impact on every player down the roster. When Alex Chiasson was a free agent last offseason, he had some conversations with Trotz that led him to buy into the team. The Capitals are Chiasson’s fourth team in the last six years.

“He’s helped me gain confidence, and every player is gonna say, when you’re playing with confidence you’re gonna be a better player than someone that has no confidence looking for answers,” Chiasson said. “That’s one thing that Barry’s done so well with me. There were times where he’s given me time to breathe and times where he told me I needed to be better. Those are things I’m gonna have with me for the rest of my career and he’s done a great job of that.”

If Trotz does not return, one likely candidate for the Capitals‘ head coaching job is associate head coach Todd Reirden. Reirden was hired as an assistant coach in 2014, the same year as Trotz. Last year, the team both promoted him to the title of associate coach and disallowed him from interviewing for jobs elsewhere.

“When we signed Todd to be an associate coach, we had an agreement for one year to restrict his ability to interview and that’ll be up after this year,” MacLellan said.

Only one NHL head coaching job is currently open: the New York Islanders.

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