While the search for a new head coach in Washington continues, Todd Reirden has already found a new position behind the bench. Reirden will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins to serve as an assistant coach under Mike Sullivan, general manager Jim Rutherford announced on Wednesday.
Reirden will be in charge of the team's defense and power play which, some will note, were arguable the two biggest issues with the Capitals when he was head coach. As head coach, however, the defense was run by Reid Cashman and the power play was run by Blaine Forsythe. Reirden came to prominence as an excellent assistant working with the Penguins. He was an assistant for four seasons in Pittsburgh and then worked four seasons with Caps under Barry Trotz where he helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 2018. He was fired after two years as head coach in Washington.
"I am pleased to add Todd and Mike to our coaching staff, and believe they will complement Mike Sullivan's coaching style," Rutherford said. "Todd is a Stanley Cup winning coach with a decade of NHL experience as both an assistant and head coach. Mike brings championship experience at both the AHL and OHL level, and is very familiar with how we function as an organization."
Over time, he may get another opportunity behind the bench so whether or not he is a good head coach is yet to be determined, but there is no arguing his credentials as an assistant in charge of defense.
Reirden will replace Sergei Gonchar who was fired as the Penguins cleaned house under Sullivan after a disappointing loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round of the postseason.
The Caps have not yet determined who will be the head coach or who will be in charge of the team's defense. Cashman is leaving the Caps to take over as head coach at Dartmouth. Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said he would wait until a new head coach is hired to determine the future of the rest of the assistants, noting the new coach would probably want input on the staff.