The Washington Capitals may have reached the end of an era of sorts, or at least the end of a significant chapter in their franchises' history.
The Capitals of course were eliminated from contention in the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this week after a disappointing showing against the New York Islanders in their first round series and perhaps due to several factors surrounding that loss it was clear that big changes were coming on the horizon. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has wasted relatively little time in that regard announcing today that the team had decided to move on from head coach Todd Reirden, the man MacLellan himself had put into the head coaching position after letting former Capitals head coach Barry Trotz walk at the end of his contract. It is a decision that in hindsight now looks terrible on the part of the Capitals organization given that it was Trotz who was leading the Islanders that defeated them earlier in the week.
What's done is done however and now the Capitals will look forward to a future that will include a brand new head coach, and one that may also include a brand new number one goaltender as well. During a media availability on Sunday following the termination of Reirden as head coach MacLellan spoke to reporters and was asked about the future of the team's biggest pending free agent, goaltender Braden Holtby. Holtby has been with the Capitals for a decade now and is synonymous with the team in the eyes of many, however based on MacLellan's comments today it sounds like Holtby may have played his final game as a Capital already.
MacLellan told reporters that bringing Holtby back was "going to be difficult" and that his future with the Capitals was "still to be decided."
Holtby will be looking for a new deal but he is coming off his worst statistical season at 30 years of age and with the salary cap remaining flat for next season I think it is highly unlikely the Capitals would be willing to give him another big contract. If Holtby were willing to sacrifice on both term and salary perhaps the Capitals would be more interested in retaining him, but whether or not Holtby is so inclined remains to be seen.