According to a tweet on Saturday by Winnipeg Free Press sports columnist Gary Lawless, Barry Trotz becoming head coach of the Capitals is a “done deal.”
Lawless later tweeted that a deal between Trotz and the Capitals is close but not complete.
Trotz, who coached the Nashville Predators for the past 16 years and is considered the top available coaching candidate among NHL insiders, did not return voicemails and a text message left for him on Saturday by CSNWashington.
A Capitals spokesperson said the team would not comment on rumors and/or speculation and that the team will make an announcement once the hiring of a coach and/or general manager is finalized.
Trotz is believed to be the first and only coach that has interviewed with the Capitals. He reportedly met with team owner Ted Leonsis and club president Dick Patrick on Tuesday.
Trotz broke into the NHL as a part-time scout with the Capitals under Patrick in 1987. Five years later he was named head coach for the Capitals' minor league affiliate, the AHL Baltimore Skipjacks, In 1993 the Skipjacks moved to Portland, Maine and became the Portland Pirates. He led the Pirates to two Calder Cup Finals, winning the Calder Cup in the Pirates' inaugural season of 1994.
Trotz, who had been rumored as a top candidate in Vancouver, has indicated he would prefer a general manager to be in place before he accepted a coaching position with an NHL team. The Capitals reportedly have interviewed Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton and Boston Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney.
Ray Shero, who was fired eight days ago as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is also believed to be high on the Capitals’ list of potential general managers.
Shero and Fenton worked with Trotz when they were with the Predators and have been linked to the 51-year-old coach in the Capitals’ search to fill the two vacancies left on April 26 when George McPhee and Adam Oates were relieved of their duties.
In his 15 seasons with the Predators, Trotz’ teams went 557-479-100 record with 60 ties. The Predators reached the playoffs in seven of his 15 seasons behind the bench but made it out of the first round just twice, losing seven of their nine playoffs series under Trotz.