Head coach Trotz leaving Capitals after Cup win

Winning the Stanley Cup may have cost the Washington Capitals their coach. Barry Trotz announced his decision to resign as head coach of the Capitals on Monday, ending speculation he would sign a contract extension with the franchise he just guided to a championship. The decision appears to be motivated by financial reasons, as Trotz is in line for a big raise as a championship coach.

Trotz and the Capitals had a clause for a two-year extension that would kick in should they win a Cup, but those terms were set four years ago when the initial contract was signed, and NHL coaching salaries have ballooned tremendously in that time - in large part thanks to the massive $50 million, 8-year deal the Toronto Maple Leafs gave Mike Babcock in 2015. Attempts to renegotiate the extension fell flat, and Trotz is due for a big raise on the open market.

No NHL team had a better regular-season record than Washington during Trotz’s tenure as head coach. The Capitals were 205-89-34 over those four seasons, although they could not get past the second round of the playoffs until this year. Finally breaking through to the conference finals - and beyond - was not just a hurdle for Washington to clear, but also Trotz specifically, as he had never been to the third round in his 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators, either. Now, Trotz can point to his Cup victory when negotiating with his new team if there is any concern over his postseason record.

The only franchise with a vacancy at head coach other than Washington are the New York Islanders, who fired coach Doug Weight and overhauled their front office after a disappointing season. The Islanders make sense as a destination for Trotz, with an opportunity to coach another of hockey’s top talents in John Tavares after spending four years with Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals appear set to promote assistant Todd Reirden to Trotz’s old position.

Not since Mike Keenan in 1994 has an active coach left a franchise immediately after winning a Stanley Cup.