Barry Trotz met with Capitals

May 21

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Barry Trotz met with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and president Dick Patrick in Washington on Tuesday about the team’s vacant coaching job, another indication in the mutual interest between the organization and the veteran bench boss.

Trotz, 51, is widely considered the top coach currently available and is being courted by three of the four teams with openings. Once Vancouver names Jim Benning general manager, as is expected later this week, Trotz will likely be a candidate there as well.

In an interview with The Post on May 12, Trotz expressed his interest in the Capitals job and said that they were “one of the first teams to reach out” after he was fired by Nashville in April after a 16-year tenure with the Predators.

It’s worth noting that two candidates for Washington’s general manager position – former Penguins GM Ray Shero and Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton – worked with Trotz in Nashville.

But as experienced as Trotz is there are questions about a possible match between the Capitals and the Manitoba native, largely stemming from the fact that he most often used a defense-first approach in Nashville. Asked about his ability to employ alternate systems, Trotz said he believes a roster should determine a team’s style of play. Nashville has groomed several top defensemen over the years (Shea Weber, Seth Jones and Ryan Suter – now with Minnesota – come to mind) leading to a more defensive slant.

It would be interesting to see, after all those years with a team built to protect its own zone, how he might utilize offensive talents like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and the complementary cast.

“You need balance, and if you have dynamic people – I’ve always tried to assess the talent and say, ‘Okay, how can we get better as a group and how can we win hockey games?’” Trotz said earlier this month. “I’ve played a number of different systems based on our personnel but I like the personnel to dictate the strength.”

SportsNet’s John Shannon was the first to report that Trotz was in Washington on Tuesday.

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