Brian MacLellan told reporters there will not be any personnel changes in terms of coaches for the Capitals next season, but that does not answer all the questions surrounding team head coach Barry Trotz.
Trotz will be entering the final year of his contract in 2017-18, but a contract extension is not yet in the works.
“We haven't talked anything about contract yet,” MacLellan said Tuesday to reporters. “Maybe we do going forward. I think we're in a period here of uncertainty where we have to drill down some specific stuff. I think we needed improvements throughout our organization, myself included. I think once there's evidence of those improvements, a contract extension could take place.”
It is not too often that you see a head coach allowed to enter the final year of his deal in any sport. Just what “improvements” MacLellan needs to see before Trotz is offered an extension is unclear. It is very easy to jump to the conclusion that MacLellan is referring to postseason results, but without any further clarification, the possibility that Trotz may still get an extension before the start of next season cannot be ruled out.
MacLellan downplayed the significance of Trotz entering the final year of his deal when asked if he thought it mattered to the team.
“I don't think so. I think our situation matters. We just had a period where everybody's disappointed we didn’t get accomplished what we wanted to have accomplished. If you had two years left or one year left, it's the same situation and I think the contract is the result of where we're at as an organization.”
MacLellan was not overtly critical of Trotz’s performance as coach, but he did not offer a strong endorsement either saying, “I think it's easy in hindsight for me to be critical, but the coaches make coaching decisions as they go and they have to be held accountable for their results also.”
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