Fantasy Impact: The Washington Capitals have hired former Nashville bench boss Barry Trotz as their new head coach. They also promoted Barry McLellan from assistant general manager to general manager.
Of little consequence is the McLellan news. He's been with the team for 12 years, seven of those as assistant to George McPhee. While the two are different people and different personalities, you have to believe that the main philosophy on running a team will be close to the same. You'll see some tweaking, in the same way you saw Dave Nonis tweak things after his mentor Brian Burke left. But nothing will be done that GMGM wouldn't have done anyway.
No, the big news here is Barry Trotz taking over. Trotz is a fantastic coach - he managed to stay with one team for 15 years, often taking that team into the playoffs when many preseason pundits had them nowhere near the postseason. He preaches a team game and gets the most out of his players. Granted, Nashville has always been a haven where offense would go to die. But the Preds did have some high-scoring players under Trotz from time to time, if the personnel allowed for it:
2003-04 Scott Walker- 67 points
2005-06 Paul Kariya- 85 points
2006-07 Paul Kariya- 76 points
2007-08 JP Dumont and Jason Arnott- 72 points
If Paul Kariya can tally 85 points, then Alex Ovechkin can make it to 90.
Last season, Ovechkin saw 20:32 per game of ice time. Generally speaking, he's used to about 21 minutes per game or more. Top forwards on a Barry Trotz-coached team see about 19 minutes. Will there be a reduction in Ovechkin's ice time and is that a good or bad thing? Will he remain on the right wing? Some things to consider, for sure.
I think where Trotz really stands out is how much he leans on his workhorse defensemen. Shea Weber and Roman Josi each saw between 26 and 27 minutes per game last season. For the Caps, the candidates (shoe-in) are John Carlson and Mike Green. Last year those two saw 24:30 and 22:43 per game respectively. Add two to three minutes each and you can probably add seven or eight points each while you're at it.
Another area where Trotz stands out is his slow integration of rookies into the lineup. He'll bring them in a checking line and keep them there. Seemingly forever. The jury is still out, as to the affectiveness of this. It made Nick Spaling a very solid NHL player. But it also held Colin Wilson down to the point where you wonder if he can ever be a first liner now. And then there is Alexander Radulov. Would he have stayed if Trotz handled him differently as a sophomore?
And finally - goaltending. Barry Trotz made average goaltenders into stars (Tomas Vokoun, Pekka Rinne), sub-par goalies into average ones (Chris Mason) and terrible goalies into adequate ones (Carter Hutton, Dan Ellis). He'll make Brayden Holtby into a star, mark my words.
At the very least, there will be stability. Good or bad, Trotz will be the coach for at least two years (if he does extremely terrible) and perhaps another 15 years (if he enjoys the same success he did in Nashville).
Fantasy players this helps, in order:
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
1. Evgeni Kuznetsov
See what our members have to say about this hire - here