Trotz walks: Stanley Cup-winning coach resigns
Coach resigns after
winning Stanley Cup
Less than two weeks after lifting the Stanley Cup, Barry Trotz is a free agent and the Washington Capitals are looking for a new coach.
Trotz stepped down as Capitals coach on Monday after a contract dispute over salary and term that leaves the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft and free agency fast approaching. General manager Brian MacLellan said the Capitals accepted Trotz’s resignation after they were unable to agree on terms on a new contract.
Winning the Cup less than two weeks ago triggered a two-year extension for Trotz that would have given him a slight bump in salary to just over $2 million, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce the extension.
“His representative wants to take advantage of Barry’s experience and Stanley Cup win and was trying to negotiate a deal that compensates him as one of the better coaches in the league, top four or five coaches,” MacLellan said at a news conference in Arlington, Virginia. “I think the five-year term is probably a sticking point. You have a coach that’s been here four years, you do another five, that’s nine years. There’s not many coaches that have that lasting ability. It’s a long time and it’s a lot of money to be committing to a coach.”
Toronto’s Mike Babcock makes the most at $6.25 million on an eight-year deal after coaching Detroit for 10 seasons, Chicago’s Joel Quenneville is next at $6 million entering his ninth full season with the Blackhawks and Montreal’s Claude Julien brings in $5 million after coaching Boston for nine-plus seasons. All three have won the Cup like Trotz, including Quenneville three times.
If Trotz was paid among the top five, it would have put him in the $4 million-plus range annually — a price the Capitals have not been willing to pay for coaches.
“After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation,” Trotz said. “When I came to Washington four years ago we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation’s capital. We had an incredible run this season culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitement with our fans.”
The 55-year-old Trotz went into the season with an uncertain future after ownership and MacLellan declined to talk about a contract extension last summer after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy-winning seasons that ended with second-round exits.
“We were struggling at the time to get over the hump,” MacLellan said. “We couldn’t get out of the second round and Barry hadn’t been able to coach out of the second round yet either. I think from the organization’s perspective, some changes would’ve had to be made if we lost in the second round again.”
That didn’t happen as a relaxed Trotz played a vital role in Washington’s first title in franchise history. He survived a rough start to the season and other struggles before he and the team found a stride in the playoffs.