Peter Laviolette has been named the new coach of the Washington Capitals, the team announced Tuesday.
It is believed that Laviolette’s agreement is for three years, a source tells ESPN.
Laviolette, 55, has 18 years of experience as a head coach and ranks 16th in all-time victories with a career record of 637-425-123. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and most recently coached the Predators, but was fired in January after five and a half seasons with the team. Laviolette also led the 2010 Flyers and 2017 Predators to the Stanley Cup final.
“We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential,”
“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club,” Laviolette said in the statement. “This is a winning organization with high expectations. I look forward to coaching this huge group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team.”
Laviolette is still under contract with the Predators for next season and earns $ 2.5 million, but the capitals are expected to cover this salary as part of the deal.
Laviolette replaces Todd Reirden, who was fired three days after Washington was knocked out of the playoffs this summer. Capitals hired Reirden, one of their best assistants, after being in a contract case with coach Barry Trotz shortly after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. However, Capitals were knocked out in the first round of Reirden’s first two seasons, including a five game losses to the Trotz Islanders this summer.
Reirden has since been hired as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh.
MacLellan was aware that the best criteria he was looking for in a new coach were experience. According to sources, Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant were Washington’s two other finalists. Trotz was the only one of six coaches in the Alex Ovechkin era with previous head coaching experience. The other five were rookies.
MacLellan said last month that he began noticing a regression in his team in late December.
“You could see the style of play starting to get worse,” MacLellan told reporters in August. “I think we had a good culture here and it’s starting to slip. I think we have to get it, get it back to where it was. We’ve developed a habit of thinking, ‘ that we can play well when we have to play good, rather than develop good habits, and the games take care of themselves. “
The capitals are facing another offseason, where they are bound by the wage cap, which is expected to remain flat at $ 81.5 million. Goalkeeper Braden Holtby, who won the cup in 2018, is an unlimited free agent and could go as the team turns to 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov in the net. Meanwhile, Ovechkin is scheduled to become a free agent by 2021.