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Thoughts on the Peter Laviolette Hiring

September 15, 2020, 10:04 AM ET [10 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

The Washington Capitals have hired Peter Laviolette on a 3-year deal worth about 4M per year.
Laviolette has coached in the league for 18 years. His overall record in that span is 637-425-25. He was the coach of the Carolina Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 05-06. He was the coach of the Flyers when they qualified for the Stanley Cup but lost to the Blackhawks. Lastly, he was the coach of the Predators when they qualified for the Stanley Cup and they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The general narrative with Laviolette is that he has a history of taking over struggling teams and making them contenders. In 2000-2001, Laviolette took over an Islanders team that was 21-51-7-3 and also ranked 29th in Goals-For. The next season, Laviolette led the Islanders to a 42-28-8-4 record that ranked 6th in Goals-For. In his time in Carolina, he also took over a struggling team. During his first full season, he coached them to a Stanley Cup victory. The team also bounced back from dead last in goals-for at 172 and reached 294 goals-for which ranked third in the league. Philadelphia was a slightly different story, he came into an already relatively strong Philadelphia squad. As mentioned above, they lost in the Stanley Cup finals during his first year. The following seasons the team scored 106 and 103 points, but the team kept losing in the playoffs. Lastly with Nashville, Laviolette took over a team that had missed the playoffs in back-to-back years. In general, the offense and defense both improved but the special teams gradually declined.

The Washington Capitals may not need a dramatic jump start like Laviolette has provided to recent struggling teams he has taken over. However, this team does need a jump-start, especially when it comes to playoff hockey. The three-year deal tells me the Capitals want him to squeeze out every little bit of potential left in this aging group of veterans. Laviolette will bring discipline and accountability to a group that looked like they were sleepwalking through the postseason this year. I am reading he is also known for helping younger players develop as well but I can’t cite any specific examples. A name that comes to mind who may benefit from a coach like that is Jakub Vrana. Some of the Cons I am reading about Laviolette is his teams have a tendency to struggle on special teams and he can be difficult to work with at times. Our PP struggled big time this year so I don’t see it getting much worse.

All in all, I am excited about this move. It really appears this move was made for the sole purpose of getting one last cup with this core before the window closes all the way. He has a ton of successful experience and the players will likely find it easy to follow his leadership. Sure, every coach comes with some baggage but the Pros vastly outweigh the Cons relative to what this Caps team needs right now.

Thoughts on the hire?

Thanks for reading!
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