On Monday night, the Washington Capitals announced their new GM/coach combo. The Caps have promoted Brian MacLellan to the new general manager position, vacated by George McPhee. They also announced the hiring of Barry Trotz as the team’s new head coach.
MacLellan, 55, becomes the sixth general manager in the Capitals history after spending the past seven seasons as the team’s assistant general manager. Trotz, who spent 15 seasons with Nashville, returns to the organization where he first was hired as a scout in the late 80’s. Trotz has never taken one of his teams past the second round of the postseason.
ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have promoted Brian MacLellan to senior vice president and general manager and named Barry Trotz as the team’s coach, majority owner Ted Leonsis and president Dick Patrick announced today.
“We are extremely pleased to name Brian MacLellan the team’s general manager and welcome Barry Trotz to Washington as the Capitals coach,” said Leonsis. “After conducting an extensive search for a general manager, we determined that Brian was the best candidate to help us reach our ultimate goal, winning the Stanley Cup. We have witnessed his abilities firsthand, and we have tremendous respect for how he manages people and situations. We feel he has relevant, in-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of our franchise and will be forceful in addressing them. Brian always has displayed tremendous professionalism, passion and commitment to the Capitals. He has his own unique approach, and we are confident in his abilities to lead this organization to new heights.
“We are also excited to welcome Barry back to the Capitals organization. Barry is a highly respected and accomplished coach who brings us a wealth of experience. He possesses high character and the exact leadership qualities we look for in the head coach. He was the only coach we coveted, and we feel he is an ideal fit to help lead our club.”
“After interviewing a number of extremely well qualified and capable candidates outside of the organization, we became even more confident that Brian is the best person to lead our hockey club,” said Patrick. “He possesses the necessary skill set that is required for this position and has the vision that we believe will give us a realistic chance of consistently competing for the Stanley Cup. In Barry, we are getting an experienced and well-respected coach whose presence and tutelage will benefit our players. With these moves we believe we took a big step forward in assembling a great leadership group that will be in synch and in alignment for our hockey team.”
“I am extremely honored and excited about the opportunity I have been given with the Capitals,” said MacLellan. “Over the course of my career I have worked in acquiring the necessary skills to excel in this position. We have built a solid foundation, and I look forward to implementing my ideas to get us back to competing for the Stanley Cup. Also, it is a great pleasure to welcome Barry to Washington as the new head coach of the Capitals. Barry’s teams have always played with structure, discipline and intensity, and I look forward to him leading us to success for many years to come.”
“I am very excited to join the Washington Capitals and want to thank Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick and Brian MacLellan for this opportunity,” said Trotz. “This is a great organization with a strong foundation and a tremendous fan base. I look forward to working with this group of talented players and the quality front office staff this team has assembled.”
MacLellan, 55, becomes the sixth general manager in the Capitals history after spending the past 13 seasons with Washington, seven as the team’s assistant general manager, player personnel. In his previous role MacLellan oversaw the club’s professional scouting staff and worked closely with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears, who won the Calder Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010. MacLellan, who served as a pro scout for the Capitals from 2000-03 and then was promoted to director of player personnel, assisted and advised the general manager in all player-related matters.
MacLellan, who won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, had a 10-year NHL career in which he skated for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings. A forward who played 606 NHL games, MacLellan recorded 172 goals, 241 assists and 413 points. MacLellan also won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 1985 World Championship in Prague.
The Guelph, Ontario, native played hockey at Bowling Green State University from 1978-82, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration. In 1982 he was named an All-America defenseman and First-Team All-CCHA. MacLellan earned his MBA in finance from the University of St. Thomas in 1995 and went on to work for an investment consulting firm in Minneapolis before joining the Capitals as a pro scout.
Trotz, 51, becomes the 17th coach in Capitals history and joins Washington after spending 15 seasons as coach of the Nashville Predators. Trotz was previously the longest tenured coach in the NHL and only coach in the Predators history. Trotz has put himself among some legendary names, ranking third all-time in both games coached (1,196) and wins (557) with a single franchise. He also ranks 15th on the NHL’s coaching victories list and fourth among active coaches behind only Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis) and Lindy Ruff (Dallas).
Trotz is one of just six coaches in all four major North American sports leagues to have coached or managed each of a team’s first 15 seasons of existence (MLB: Connie Mack – 50, Oakland; NFL Curly Lambeau – 29, Green Bay, Tom Landry -29, Dallas, Hank Stram – 15, Kansas City, Paul Brown – 15, Cleveland). Trotz has also been the finalist for the Jack Adams Award, awarded annually to the NHL’s top head coach, twice in the last five seasons (2010 and 2011) while finishing in the top 5 on four other occasions since 2006.
Prior to joining the Predators, Trotz spent five seasons (1992-97) as the coach of the Capitals’ primary developmental affiliate in the American Hockey League. He was named coach of the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992 after one season as an assistant coach. Following the franchise’s relocation to Portland, Maine, in 1993, he led the Portland Pirates to two Calder Cup finals appearances during the next four seasons. In 1994-95, Trotz coached Portland to a Calder Cup championship and a league-best 43-27-10 record and captured AHL Coach of the Year honors. In 2006 he was honored with election to the Pirates’ Hall of Fame.
Trotz earned the first of his back-to-back Jack Adams nominations in 2009-10 when he was runner-up for the award after leading his club to a 100-point season (47-29-6) despite the NHL’s 28th-highest payroll. Trotz was again nominated for the award in 2011-12 after guiding the Predators to the fifth seed in the Western Conference (44-27-11 record) despite losing 348 man-games due to injury, a number that ranked among the top three in the league, and being the fifth youngest roster down the stretch and the youngest among playoff teams. That success continued in 2011-12 when he finished fifth in Adams voting after steering the team to their third-best record in franchise history and to top 10 rankings in goals for (eighth), goals against (eighth), power-play percentage (first) and penalty-kill percentage (10th). On Nov. 12, 2011, against the Montreal Canadiens, he hit the 1,000-game milestone, and on March 30, 2012, reached the 500-win mark.