May 26, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
The Washington Capitals reportedly are close to locking down former Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz as their new bench boss, but the team still doesn’t have a new general manager.
As these types of situations go, hiring a new coach before a new GM is in place would be a rare move, but as Elliotte Friedman of CBC points out, the Capitals and owner Ted Leonsis have their field narrowed down and may have their man right under their nose.
The Capitals have talked to or interviewed around 10 people for the position including former GMs Craig Button, Jay Feaster, and Darcy Regier as well as Preds assistant GM Paul Fenton and Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney.
The most curious one is Capitals assistant GM Brian MacLellan and he’s the guy Friedman hints could be the top choice.
“According to several sources, the current assistant GM was involved in the Trotz interviews and helped show him around the U.S. capital. It is unlikely someone on the way out would be so heavily involved. When this process started, his hiring would be a surprise. Not anymore.”
Promoting MacLellan, who was former GM George McPhee’s assistant, would be a curious move. After 17 years with the Caps, McPhee was fired along with coach Adam Oates on April 26. One advantage MacLellan has going for him right away, as Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com points out, is he has history with Trotz.
After names like Ray Shero and Mike Gillis have also popped up in the discussion, keeping the hiring in-house like this would raise some questions as to what kind of change will come about in trying to make the Caps a Stanley Cup contender. With a big hiring like this, the Caps can’t afford a misstep.
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