In addition any roster changes they make this summer, the Capitals are expected to tweak their coaching staff as well.
Washington has granted Tim Hunter permission to interview elsewhere, and it is unlikely that he will return to the Capitals as an assistant coach for the 2013-14 season.
“We’ve given him permission until June 30 to talk to other clubs about employment,” General Manager George McPhee said, declining to discuss additional details of Hunter’s future.
Hunter, 52, who is believed to have one year remaining on his contract with the Capitals, was the final member of the new coaching staff hired last summer and was brought in to add experience behind the bench with first-time coach Adam Oates and first-time NHL assistant coach Calle Johansson.
It’s unclear exactly why Hunter, who has spent 14 seasons as an NHL assistant, didn’t work out as a member of the staff. Oates declined to comment on Hunter’s status.
During the lockout-shortened season Hunter was tasked with working to restructure the Capitals’ penalty kill, a slow-moving process that showed modest improvement toward the end of the regular season, but Oates and Johansson had plenty of influence with the unit as well.
Assuming Hunter does not return, it will be interesting to see how the Capitals choose to round out the coaching staff heading into next season. Given the strength of the relationship between Oates and Johansson, it wouldn’t be surprising if whoever is brought in has also crossed paths with Oates during his playing or coaching career.