Now that the Capitals development camp is over and the amateur scouts have completed their evaluations, the clubs next order of business is hiring two assistant coaches for Adam Oates.
And its no menial task.
For me, it's vital who my assistants are going to be because it is my first job, Oates said on Saturday. I need someone to help me pass my messages along fast to a veteran team. To have a guy that played in the game that I've had some personal time with is very important to me.
According the general manager George McPhee, the Caps already have found one of those assistants and are expected to make their announcement in the coming days.
I think its a good fit for the club and I think were getting close to wrapping it up, McPhee said. Weve agreed, theyve agreed. We just have to iron out a few more things.
Ideally, Oates would like to have one assistant who can run the defensive rotation and another who can help him run the bench and assist in special teams play. The list of Oates former NHL teammates with coaching experience is extensive.
For a defensive coach, among his options are former teammates Rob Zettler, who recently worked as an assistant under Ron Wilson in Toronto; Phil Housley, who has served as head coach of the U.S. Under-18 team; Scott Stevens, who worked as a developmental coach with Oates in New Jersey; and Calle Johansson, an assistant coach in Sweden who has played more games in Washington than any other Capital.
For a bench coach, Oates options include Jeff Brown, a former NHL defenseman who is now head coach and general of the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL; Tim Hunter, another Ron Wilson protg who worked with Zettler in Toronto; Peter Bondra, who has expressed interest in having a more active role with the Capitals; and Rick Tocchet, who worked with Oates in Tampa Bay when he was head coach of the Lightning.
Both coaching roles are significant, but moreso on defense, where Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Mike Green, Dmitry Orlov and Cam Schilling are at key stages of their development. With that in mind, convincing Stevens to leave New Jersey and return to the city in which his NHL career began would be quite an accomplishment.
If given the choice, who would be your choices for the Caps two assistants? Join the conversation below.