Caps GM: We can 'work out' Trotz's contract at end of the year

Chris Lingebach
May 25, 2018 - 4:43 pm

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan says there will be plenty of time in the offseason to work on a new contract for head coach Barry Trotz.

With his team in the Stanley Cup Final, Trotz -- after four seasons and three consecutive division titles in Washington -- is a lame duck coach without a contract beyond this season.

"I think we'll work it out at the end of the year," MacLellan told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan. "We weren't sure how this year was going to turn out."

"And from the beginning," he said, "we've said we'll address all the business parts, the free agents and the coaching situation, at the end of the year."

"We determined that we needed a full year to decide which way we want to go in the organization," MacLellan said. "Barry's had a good year and I congratulate him for it."

Although the case is a little different with John Carlson, MacLellan says, because the Caps have a clearer idea of the player he is after nine seasons. Carlson, who signed a six-year, $23.8 million bridge deal in 2012, becomes a free agent after the season. Re-signing Carlson will likely come down to his asking price.

"John's had a great year," MacLellan said. "But again, we'll address it when we get through the finals here. We'll sit down with John and his representatives and then go from there."

MacLellan now says his remarks about the Capitals' two-year window, which he'd previously characterized as being open for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, was more about the group of players on the team at the time, and that he never believed his club's window to win would slam shut after those seasons.

"I get held accountable for that two-year window statement," MacLellan said. "But I think the intent from my point was a two-year window with that group of guys. I knew at some point those contracts, how they lined up, that we were gonna have to make changes and go with younger guys. I don't think it was ever my intention that we were not going to be competitive going forward. In fact, I disagreed with maybe some of the outside evaluations and I thought we were gonna be better this year than was predicted."

Asked when he first felt this Capitals club could be different, and actually break through the second round with a chance to advance all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, MacLellan demurred.

"Yeah, I don't know that I've ever had that idea," he said. "Throughout the year we had a lot of ups and downs emotionally, and maybe a little inconsistency with our defensive play. You know, maybe the first sentiment is in the first round, when we're down two-nothing and we managed to claw back from Columbus. I think that was probably the first indication that we were gonna be good at it. But still, then  you don't trust it until we keep doing it, until we find those moments that certain guys or certain plays happen in our direction and we benefit from them."

MacLellan spoke of how gratifying it's been to see the majority of the roster contribute on the score sheet, freeing up 

"I think it's huge. I think part of is it takes pressure off the big guys. I mean, you look at Game 6, Ovi had an outstanding game but he didn't have to score for us to win. When you're getting contributions from everybody, I think it frees up your skill players to just play and not put pressure on themselves to score goals. And I also think it becomes a more difficult matchup for the opposing team. I think Tampa, when our bottom six is scoring, or when guys that don't normally score, score, I think it changes the dynamic of the whole game and how they match players."

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