Reports: Capitals close to hiring Barry Trotz

May 24

Former Nashville coach Barry Trotz could be close to coming to Washington. (Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

The idea of Barry Trotz winding up in Washington has been intriguing for a while now. The veteran NHL bench boss has plenty of experience, having groomed Nashville for 16 years, and an approachable yet demanding style. But no one knows exactly how he would adapt going from a budget conscious organization to one that spends to the salary cap, a club built around defensive talent to one with more offensive firepower.

Well, we may get the chance to find out. According to multiple reports Saturday night, the Capitals are close to hiring Barry Trotz. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press was the first to report that Trotz,  a Manitoba native, was nearing an agreement with Washington.

Trotz did not respond to a text seeking comment.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and CBC’s Elliott Friedman both reported that negotiations between Trotz and the Capitals are progressing.

Trotz, 51, was in Washington Tuesday to interview with owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick. On April 26, when the Capitals fired George McPhee and Adam Oates, Patrick said that the organization was willing to hire a coach first if such a situation was necessary.

Related: Trotz interested in Caps’ coaching vacancy

“We’ve done it both ways here. When George was hired we’d hired Ron Wilson as a coach prior to that because he was available and he was a hot commodity. We’d identified him as a coach we wanted and didn’t want to lose him because we weren’t ready at that point to make the decision on a general manager,” Patrick said in April. “Typically or generally speaking we prefer to have the general manager in place and his involvement with selecting the coach but it could happen otherwise.”

This would qualify as a “hot commodity” scenario as Carolina and Florida are interested in Trotz’s services as well. He’s been rumored as a candidate in Vancouver as well. But Trotz has ties to Washington and a long relationship with Patrick having started his NHL career with the Capitals as a part-time scout in 1987 and then serving as head coach of their AHL affiliate from 1992-97.

Trotz has indicated he would prefer a general manager be in place before he joins a new team. Among those who have interviewed for Washington’s general manager position are Boston assistant GM Don Sweeney, Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton and former Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero. Both Shero and Fenton worked with Trotz during his tenure with the Predators.

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