The Washington Capitals are in the market for a new head coach. The team announced Sunday morning that it was parting ways with coach Todd Reirden following two straight first-round playoff exits.

“We have higher expectations for our team, and we felt a fresh approach in leadership was necessary,” said Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan in a written statement. “We would like to thank Todd for all of his hard work and efforts with our organization. Todd has been a big part of our team for more than half a decade, including our Stanley Cup run in 2018, and we wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”  

Reirden had been the head coach in Washington since 2018, when he was promoted from his role as a top assistant under Barry Trotz. The Capitals decided to let Trotz walk rather than meeting his contract demands immediately after he coached Washington to a Stanley Cup title, instead electing to hand over the reins to Reirden. 

Reirden, 49, found regular season success in Washington, coaching the Caps to a 89-46-16 record and back-to-back Metropolitan division titles in his two seasons behind the bench. However, playoff success was harder to come by, as Washington was bounced in the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes last year, then dispatched by Trotz’s New York Islanders in the first round this postseason. 

Now attention turns to who Washington may pursue in its coaching search. There are several veteran coaches available on the market — including Peter Laviolette, Gerard Gallant and Mike Babcock — but the Caps have a history of leaning on rookie coaches, perhaps for financial reasons. Trotz was the Caps’ only non-rookie coaching hire in the Ovechkin era.

Will Washington’s approach change considering Ovechkin has one year remaining on his current deal and the team’s current window seems to be closing? It’ll be interesting to see.

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