Barry Trotz, next head coach of the Red Wings?

On his 57th birthday, Steve Yzerman may have been gifted the next head coach of the Red Wings.

The Islanders stunningly fired Barry Trotz on Monday, putting one of the most successful head coaches in NHL history up for hire. Surely, Yzerman will be reaching out.

Trotz, who took an Islanders team lacking stars to within a game of the Stanley Cup finals last season before injuries set the club back this season, is third all time among NHL coaches in wins (914), trailing only Joel Quenneville and Red Wings legend Scotty Bowman. He’s also a two-time Jack Adams Award winner as the league’s best head coach.

Before his four-year stint in New York, which included three trips to the playoffs, Trotz led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history in 2018. He averaged more than 50 wins a season in four years behind the bench in DC.

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Trotz, 59, also coached the Predators in their first 15 years of operation. The team made the playoffs in seven of his final 10 seasons.

Yzerman is searching for a new head coach in Detroit after dismissing Jeff Blashill at the end of this season. A young Red Wings team had regressed defensively, allowing the second most goals in the NHL and the most in franchise history in more than 30 years.

Trotz’s teams have long been known as defensively sound. The Islanders allowed the second fewest goals per game (2.56) in the NHL the past four seasons under Trotz, during which time the Red Wings allowed the most (3.49). And the Caps allowed the second fewest goals per game (2.45) in the NHL in their four seasons under Trotz.

Yzerman said last week his primary reason for moving on from Blashill, who had served in Detroit for seven seasons, was the Red Wings’ “inability to improve our play with and without the puck.”

“We just weren’t able to improve our play in those areas, mostly on the defensive side of things," Yzerman said. “Our expectations honestly weren’t to win the Stanley Cup with the team that we had, but looking to improve in areas — and we weren’t doing that.”

There are several other veteran head coaches on the market, two of whom rank among the top 10 all-time in wins in Paul Maurice and Alain Vigneault. But none quite as decorated and as fit for the job in Detroit as Trotz. Yzerman also said he’s looking for a firm, demanding voice in Blashill's successor, another trademark of Trotz.

“The guys (who I played for) that I thought were really good were extremely demanding, to the point where you walk out of the locker room some days and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I want to strangle that guy.' But they make you better players and they make you win,’ Yzerman said. “So that would be maybe the one trait I’m looking for, is somebody who’s going to push and demand of our players.”

Trotz has been pushing players for 23 straight seasons as a head coach in the NHL. He will be hearing from every team with a vacancy this offseason, and may well be the top target for each one. He can choose where he coaches next. The Flyers also have an opening, while the Jets, Canadiens, Panthers and Blackhawks are currently under interim head coaches. And the list of vacancies could grow as the playoffs unfold.

For Trotz, the rebuilding Red Wings might not have the same appeal as a team like the Jets that boasts the pieces to win now. Certainly, the Panthers job would be the most desirable if it becomes available, but Florida could just as soon stick with rookie Andrew Brunette who’s fresh off leading the team to the Presidents Trophy and its best season in franchise history.

Yzerman and the Red Wings can pitch a bright future built around 25-year-old captain Dylan Larkin and Rookie of the Year candidates Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. They can also sell Trotz on the idea of revitalizing an Original Six franchise with the third most Cups in NHL history. And working in tandem with Yzerman, a proven GM who built a juggernaut in Tampa Bay, should sell itself.

This much is clear: Trotz won't have to sell himself.