With Randy Carlyle now back in Anaheim as head coach of the Ducks, there is one head coaching vacancy in the NHL and Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden reportedly is one of three finalists, along with Canucks assistant Glen Gulutzan and Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen.
“We’ve been thorough,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said during a Monday radio interview with Sportsnet 960 The Fan in Calgary. “It wasn’t really the object to get it done quickly. It was to get somebody that’s going to fit with us for now and, really, for the foreseeable future. This hire is one that you’re not just hiring for the next short term. This is somebody that’s going to be with us and grow with us and win with us over the long term.”
While Gulutzan is considered the favorite, Reirden’s stock in the NHL coaching ranks has risen dramatically since joining Barry Trotz’s staff as an assistant two years ago. Last summer Devils general manager Ray Shero showed interest in Reirden, 44, before hiring John Hynes as New Jersey’s head coach.
The Capitals have declined to comment on Reirden’s availability as a head coach, but if he is hired by the Flames it would be a big hole in the Caps’ coaching staff.
“He helped grow my game,” said Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen, who played four seasons under Reirden in Pittsburgh and the last two in Washington. “He gave me a lot of good information, let me work myself out of some things and once I became an everyday player again we worked on getting a little better each week.”
Reirden is also credited with the steady development of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Ben Lovejoy, John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Dmitry Orlov.
“Todd is a good human being,” Lovejoy said. “I had a great experience with Todd. I feel like we came up in the NHL together. He was a mentor. He played the game and he understood the ups and downs of being a young defenseman. I credit a lot of my development to Todd.”
Lovejoy added that he thought Reirden would make an excellent head coach in the NHL.
“I would think so,” Lovejoy said. “He’s been very successful with every job he’s had. You look at the D men that came through both Pittsburgh and Washington and I think you have to credit Todd for a lot of that.”
Under the direction of Reirden, the Capitals ranked second in goals allowed this season and fifth in power-play percentage. In his first year behind the Caps bench they finished seventh in goals allowed and first in power-play percentage.
Reirden has also watched closely the handling of superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin under Dan Bylsma and Trotz and noted that experience could someday help him land a head coaching job in the NHL.
"It's ultimately a goal, for certain, just as it was for me as a player to play in the National Hockey League," Reirden told the Associated Press before the start of the playoffs. "It's always a goal for me as a coach to get to the pinnacle or the top of your profession."