The Washington Capitals, after a disappointing season wherein they missed the playoffs, made a big change this offseason, giving both General Manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates the boot. Now, both positioned have been filled. The GM hire isn't terribly exciting, as they've simply promoted assistant GM Brian MacLellen. However, when it comes to the head coaching position, the Caps have struck gold, bringing in Barry Trotz.
Of all the guys with head coaching experience on the market this offseason, Trotz was the top choice. He actually was the Capitals' AHL affiliate coach from 1992-1997, but from there got hired to be the first head coach of the Nashville Predators. Until this offseason, Trotz had been Nashville's head coach, the only coach they ever had. He had a lot of success there, given the situation he was in. He got the Preds into the playoffs several times, even with less than stellar talent, and has twice been a finalist for the Jack Adams. The last couple of years, Nashville didn't make the playoffs, although I wouldn't blame Trotz, but they felt a change was due. The Predators hired Peter Laviolette. Now Washington has Trotz. I think the Caps got the better of that exchange.
Trotz knows how to coach, and his teams have frequently been quite good at goal prevention, Washington's bugaboo recently. There was talk that Trotz and his goaltending coach are a package deal, and if that's true, that can only help the Caps. Alex Ovechkin should be fine. He's the best talent Trotz has ever had. Nicklas Backstrom is better than any player he ever had in Nashville too. It will be interesting to see what Trotz does with actual talent.
I do not know how good MacLellen will be as a GM. I do know the Caps have hired a top notch head coach, one that should help the team improve their record, and likely return to the postseason.