The man behind the bench for the Washington Capitals’ first ever defense of a Stanley Cup will be...a man who was behind the bench for their first ever win of a Stanley Cup, just in a different capacity. Todd Reirden aced his interview with Brian MacLellan and became the 18th head coach of the ice hockey team in D.C.
The Washington Capitals have named Todd Reirden the team’s head coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
”We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club,” said MacLellan. “Based on his coaching experience, communication abilities, his approach to the game and the respect he commands in our locker room, we feel that Todd has earned this opportunity. Todd has played an integral part in helping lead our team to the Stanley Cup championship and we feel his appointment as head coach will enable our organization to transition seamlessly into next season and beyond.”
Reirden, 47, becomes the 18th coach in Capitals history, after serving as an associate coach the last two seasons and assistant coach from 2014-16. Reirden has established himself as an experienced coach at a variety of levels. Prior to joining the Capitals, Reirden spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he helped the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2009.
In his four previous seasons with the Capitals, Reirden was responsible for the team’s defensemen. During that span, the Capitals have posted a record of 205-89-34 and ranked second in goals against average (2.45). This season, Washington defensemen combined for 176 points, including 138 at even strength. Capitals defenseman John Carlson led the NHL with 68 points, marking the fourth time in the last 10 seasons a defenseman has finished in the top-10 among defensemen scoring, the second to finish in the top-two and the first to finish first under Reirden.
During the 2016-17 season, the Capitals ranked first in the NHL in goals against per game (2.16), marking Washington’s lowest goals against per game in franchise history. In addition, the Capitals ranked fourth in shots against per game (27.8) and the Capitals held their opponents to the fewest goals in an 82-game season in franchise history (182). During the 2015-16, the Capitals held their opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 15 consecutive games (10/15-11/18), marking the longest streak for Washington since 1984-85. Reirden helped lead the Capitals to the fifth-ranked power play in the NHL (21.9) and Washington defensemen ranked tied for sixth in the League in even-strength points (122).
In his first season with the Capitals, Reirden helped lead Washington to the highest power-play percentage in the NHL (25.3%) and helped Capitals blueliners rank third in the NHL in points by defensemen (182), tied for first in the League in even-strength points by defensemen (137) and tied for first in multi-point games by defensemen (37). Washington defensemen also recorded 150 assists in 2014-15, passing their total from 2013-14 (108). Reirden helped the Capitals improve in several defensive categories, ranking seventh in the NHL in goals against (2.43) season after finishing 21st in the League in 2013-14 (2.79) and rank tied for 10th in shots against per game (28.9) in 2014-15 after ranking 27th (33.5) in 2013-14. In addition, the 2014-15 Capitals had the largest decline in shots against (-4.6 per game) from the previous season of any NHL team in the last seven seasons.
Prior to joining the Capitals, Reirden spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and worked closely with Pittsburgh’s defensemen and power-play unit. Under his guidance, the Penguins’ power play scored the most power-play goals (164) and posted the highest power-play percentage (22.3%) in the NHL since 2011. Reirden oversaw a defensive corps that ranked seventh in goals (38) in 2013-14, sent three players to the 2014 Winter Olympics (Olli Maatta, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik) and ranked in the top-12 in goals against in three of his four seasons with the team.
Reirden joined the Penguins organization in 2008 as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL and was promoted to head coach following Dan Bylsma’s promotion to Pittsburgh. In his two seasons as head coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Reirden guided the team to a 55-43-8 record and has seen 36 of his former players reach the NHL, including 15 defensemen who played in the NHL during the 2013-14 season. During the 2009 playoffs, the Deerfield, Ill., native joined Pittsburgh’s extended playoff coaching staff and assisted with in-game adjustments, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup. Prior to joining the Penguins organization, Reirden spent one season as an assistant coach with his alma mater - the Bowling Green Falcons.
Reirden was selected by New Jersey in the 12th round, 242nd overall, in the 1990 NHL Draft. He recorded 46 points (11g, 35a) and 181 penalty minutes in 183 career NHL games with Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta and Phoenix.
Reirden and his wife, Shelby, have one son, Travis.