Capitals Name Peter Laviolette Head Coach; Reportedly Agree to 3-Year Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2020

Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette in the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Denver. Nashville won 4-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday they have hired Peter Laviolette as their new head coach.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the two sides agreed to a three-year contract.

Laviolette said the following about joining the Caps: "I'm thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club. This is a winning organization with high expectations. I look forward to coaching this tremendous group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team." 

Washington fired Todd Reirden in August after he spent two seasons as the team's head coach. Although Reirden went an impressive 89-46-16 during the regular season, Washington was ousted in the first round of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

Laviolette, 55, is set to coach his fifth different team in the NHL after previous stints as head coach of the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators.

In 18 seasons as a head coach, Laviolette is 637-425-25-123. He has led teams to the playoffs on 11 occasions and reached the Stanley Cup Final with three different teams.

Laviolette's Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006, while the Flyers and Predators lost in the Cup Final in 2010 and 2017, respectively.

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Despite the success he has enjoyed at several different stops during his career, Laviolette was fired by the Predators this season. Through 41 games, the Preds were just 19-15-7, which prompted them to relieve Laviolette of his duties in favor of John Hynes.

Given Laviolette's ability to step in and lead teams to the top in short order, he may be a perfect fit in Washington.

The Capitals are just two years removed from winning their first Stanley Cup  in team history, as they defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Barry Trotz coached the Caps to that title, but he left to join the New York Islanders after guiding his team to the Cup.. Reirden didn't prove to be a suitable replacement, as he led Washington to a pair of Metropolitan Division titles, but couldn't get the job done when it mattered most.

Laviolette will arguably take over the most talented team he has ever coached in Washington with forwards Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Jakub Vrana, as well as defensemen John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov leading the way.

The Capitals have a strong enough roster to win the Cup next season, but they need to take advantage of the remaining opportunities they have since their core is aging and Ovechkin can become a free agent after the 2020-21 campaign.