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).
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