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NHL coaches say Trotz deserves Coach of the Year

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NHL coaches say Trotz deserves Coach of the Year

The Capitals ran away with the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the best record in the NHL this season and more than half of their opposing coaches think Barry Trotz is the biggest reason. In a Coach of the Year poll conducted by TSN on Tuesday, Trotz received 18 first-place votes among the 27 ballots submitted by NHL head coaches.

Under a 3-2-1 points scale for top three choices, Trotz earned 64 total points, far more than second-place finisher Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers (47 points) and third-place finisher Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars (13).

“Why wouldn’t he?” Capitals right wing Justin Williams said when asked about Trotz being a strong candidate for the Jack Adams Award, which is voted on annually by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. “We’re where we’re at because of our coaching staff. It’s obviously not just Barry, it’s everyone. It’s his supporting staff as well. They’ve done a tremendous job. So, of course.”

In 17 seasons behind an NHL bench (15 in Nashville, two in Washington), Trotz has an overall record of 657-522-60 with 118 overtime/shootout losses). He ranks ninth on the NHL’s all-time wins list. And yet, until this season, he had never won a division title, let alone a Jack Adams Award.

In his first season with the Capitals last year, Trotz helped take a team that had missed the playoffs with 90 points to a second-place finish in the Metropolitan Division with 101 points.

The Caps went into this season as preseason contenders to win the Metro Division but exceeded all expectations by clinching the division with 13 games to play in the regular season. The Caps currently sit atop the NHL with a 55-17-7 record.

“With Trotz, when you look at it, it’s the best team in the league and it’s pretty easy to give it to him,” said Flyers forward Jakub Voracek.

Trotz should receive competition from Gallant, Ruff, Bruce Boudreau, Ken Hitchcock, Mike Sullivan and Dave Hakstol, but it’s hard to imagine anyone collecting enough votes to deny Trotz his first Coach of the Year award.

Other Capitals in the running for end-of-season awards include Alex Ovechkin (Rocket Richard, Hart) and Braden Holtby (Vezina, Hart, Jennings). 

RELATED: Ovechkin still gunning for 50th goal

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!