With Adam Oates no longer employed by the Capitals and a head coaching search already under way, here is a list of potential candidates to be the fourth head coach in three years in Washington:
Hometown: Dauphin, Manitoba
Current Position: Former head coach, Nashville Predators
Background: Trotz was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL before former Caps GM David Poile showed him the door on April 14, ending his 15-year career behind the Predators bench. Known as a no-nonsense coach who commands respect from his players, Trotz is considered the top available coaching candidate in the NHL. Caps right wing Joel Ward said Trotz played a very structured system in Nashville and said he won’t stay unemployed long. Trotz actually began his NHL career in 1987 as a part-time scout for the Capitals. He was named head coach of the AHL Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992 and won a Calder Cup two years later after the Skipjacks became the Portland Pirates. In 15 years with the Predators Trotz compiled a record of 557-479-100 with 60 ties. His teams reached the Stanley Cup playoffs in seven of his 15 seasons, winning a total of just two rounds in that time [2-7].
[RELATED: Oates fired, McPhee not renewed by Caps]
Hometown: Franklin, Mass.
Current position: Head coach, Team USA, World Championships
Background: Laviolette was relieved of his duties as Philadelphia Flyers head coach just three games into this season back on Oct. 7. Another no-nonsense coach, Laviolette is a motivator who won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. He also coached the New York Islanders and won a Calder Cup with the Providence Bruins in 1999. In parts of 12 seasons in the NHL, Laviolette’s teams went 389-282-63 with 25 ties. His teams reached the playoffs in six of the 10 seasons he finished as head coach, winning nine of 14 playoff series.
Hometown: Campbellton, British Columbia
Current position: Assistant coach, Los Angeles Kings
Background: Stevens spent most of his 14-year playing career as an AHL defensemen for the Hershey Bears, Springfield Indians and Philadelphia Phantoms before immersing himself into coaching, where he won a Calder Cup with the 2005 Phantoms. Known as a players’ coach, Stevens replaced Ken Hitchcock as coach of the Flyers early in the 2006-07 season and got the Flyers to the Eastern Conference final the following season. After losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2009 Stevens was fired by the Flyers 25 games into the 2009-10 season and replaced by Laviolette. He took a job as an assistant coach of the Kings in 2011 and helped guide the Kings to the Stanley Cup later that season. In 267 games behind an NHL bench, Stevens’ teams went 122-111-34. His teams won two of four playoff series.
Hometown: Notre Dame du Lac, Quebec
Current position: Head coach, SC Bern, Swiss League
Background: After winning AHL Coach of the Year honors in 2010 with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Boucher turned down a head coaching position with the Columbus Blue Jackets to take the head job of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his first season behind the bench Boucher led the Lightning to a four-game sweep of the Capitals in the second round of the 2011 playoffs, then took the Lightning to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Boucher failed to get the Lightning into the playoffs the following season and when the Lightning began last season with a 13-17-1 record he was replaced by Jon Cooper with one year remaining on his four-year contract. Boucher took a job with SC Bern in January but he is believed to have an out clause if another NHL job becomes available.
Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.
Current position: Assistant coach, Team USA, World Championships
Background: Considered one of the best American-born defensemen ever, Housley spent 21 years playing in the NHL, including two seasons withWashington, where he helped the Caps get to the 1998 Stanley Cup Final. Hired as head coach of Team USA for the 2013 World Junior Championships, Housley led the Americans to a gold medal and was later hired as an assistant coach to Trotz. If Trotz is slected as the Capitals’ next head coach, he could bring Housley with him.
Hometown: Grand Haven, Mich.
Current position: Head coach, Pittsburgh Penguins
Background: Bylsma would only become a candidate if the Penguins decide to fire him following the Stanley Cup playoffs. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009 in his first season behind the bench. Since then his teams have lost in the second round, first round, first round and third round. Overall, his teams in Pittsburghhave gone 252-117-32 in parts of six seasons.