NHL head coaches with the most wins
Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

NHL head coaches with the most wins

The NHL has seen its fair share of great coaches. Let's take a look at some of the best to ever to do it. All win totals were acquired using Hockey-Reference and are accurate as of the end of the 2022-2023 NHL season. 

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1. Scotty Bowman (Wins: 1,244)

Scotty Bowman (Wins: 1,244)
Bruce Bennett-Contributor-Getty Images

Bowman is easily one of the greatest coaches of all time. He's the only coach in NHL history with 1,000 career wins. He won five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and won three more with the Detroit Red Wings. Oh yeah, he also won another Stanley Cup in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were led by Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. Overall, Bowman won two Jack Adams Awards, which is the NHL's coach of the year award. 

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2. Joel Quenneville (Wins: 969)

Joel Quenneville (Wins: 969)
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The now-disgraced former head coach won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. The team was led by Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. Quenneville failed to achieve the same level of success he had with the Blackhawks on any other team he coached. When it comes time to consider him for the Hall of Fame, his off-field conduct should be brought up. 

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3. Barry Trotz (Wins: 914)

Barry Trotz (Wins: 914)
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Trotz was the first head coach of the Nashville Predators. After building the team in his vision, he led them to their first playoff appearance in 2004. Overall, he led the Predators to the playoffs seven times in 15 years. He's the Predators' all-time leader in wins. After Nashville, Trotz coached the Washington Capitals. All of his hard work paid off when he won the Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin their first Stanley Cup in 2018. His last coaching gig was with the New York Islanders and he was fired in 2022. 

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4. Ken Hitchcock (Wins: 849)

Ken Hitchcock (Wins: 849)
Michael Martin-Contributor-Getty Images

Hitchcock is the Dallas Stars' all-time leader in wins. He won Dallas its first Stanley Cup in 1999, beating the Buffalo Sabres in six games. After Dallas, he achieved success with the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues. Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award in 2012 with the Blues. He retired after the 2018-19 season.

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5. Lindy Ruff (Wins: 849)

Lindy Ruff (Wins: 849)
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres won a lot during Ruff's 15-year tenure as head coach. He led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, losing in six games to the Stars. He took the team to the conference finals three times and won the Jack Adams Award in 2006. He's the Sabres' all-time leader in wins. He also coached the Dallas Stars and is currently the head coach of the New Jersey Devils. 

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6. Paul Maurice (Wins: 817)

Paul Maurice (Wins: 817)
Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice was the last head coach of the Hartford Whalers. He continued coaching the team when they moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes. He took them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2002, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in five games. Maurice also coached the Winnipeg Jets. He's one of the best coaches to never win a ring. 

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7. Al Arbour (Wins: 782)

Al Arbour (Wins: 782)
B Bennett-Contributor-Getty Images

Arbour won four Stanley Cups in a row with the New York Islanders in the 1980s. He coached one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history and is easily the best coach the Islanders ever had. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 for his contributions to the game. 

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8. Peter Laviolette (Wins: 752)

Peter Laviolette (Wins: 752)
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Laviolette has won everywhere he has gone. He won the Carolina Hurricanes their first Stanley Cup in 2006, taking down the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. After the fact, Laviolette took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. They lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, a dynasty in the 2010s. In Nashville, he led the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Currently, he's the head coach of the Washington Capitals. 

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9. Darryl Sutter (Wins: 737)

Darryl Sutter (Wins: 737)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sutter is one of the most respected coaches around the league. He led the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. Sutter was at his best with the Los Angeles Kings, winning two Stanley Cups (2012, 2014). He's the most recent winner of the Jack Adams Award, which he won in 2022 after reuniting with the Flames.

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10. Alain Vigneault (Wins: 722)

Alain Vigneault (Wins: 722)
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Vigneault has built winning cultures with several teams. He led the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in seven tough games. In 2014, he led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final, but lost to the Kings. He also had a short period of success with the Flyers, who were the No. 1 seed in the playoffs in 2020 under Vigneault. But he burned out, was fired in 2022 and hasn't coached since. Vigneault is the Canucks' all-time leader in wins

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11. John Tortorella (Wins: 704)

John Tortorella (Wins: 704)
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. Since then, he's become one of the best culture builders in the game. He had a solid run with the New York Rangers and turned the Columbus Blue Jackets into a playoff team. He's a tough coach who gets the most out of his players. The two-time Jack Adams Award winner is the current head coach of the Flyers. He's one of the biggest characters in hockey and has sparred with the media on numerous occasions, something he relished in as the head coach of the New York Rangers.

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12. Mike Babcock (Wins: 700)

Mike Babcock (Wins: 700)
Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Babcock led the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to the Stanley Cup Final in his debut as a head coach during the 2002-03 season. While they ended up losing, Babcock earned a massive amount of respect around the league. Babcock had the most success with the Red Wings, winning the Stanley Cup with them in 2008. The Red Wings almost went back-to-back, but they lost to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. Babcock's last job was with the Maple Leafs before being fired in 2019.

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13. Dıck Irvin (Wins: 692)

Dıck Irvin (Wins: 692)
Irvin Jr. standing next to a picture honoring his father (2008). Jana Chytilova-Contributor-Getty Images

Irvin was a legendary coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. He won his first Stanley Cup with the Maple Leafs in 1932 and won three more with the Canadiens. Make no mistake, Irvin was the definition of a winner.

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14. Pat Quinn (Wins: 684)

Pat Quinn (Wins: 684)
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn never won a ring, but he did lead his teams on many deep playoff runs. In 1980, he took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup. Then, he led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final with a 41-40-3 record in 1994. It was a coaching masterclass. Quinn also led the Maple Leafs to the conference finals twice. It's the closest they've gotten to the Stanley Cup since 1967. The two-time Jack Adams Award winner was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

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15. Mike Keenan (Wins: 672)

Mike Keenan (Wins: 672)
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1985 and 1987, where they lost to Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers on both occasions. After his time in Philly was up, he took the Blackhawks to the Final in 1992 and lost to Mario Lemieux's Penguins. The fourth time was the charm for Keenan. He won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994. It was the Rangers' first Stanley Cup since 1940. 

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16. Claude Julien (Wins: 667)

Claude Julien (Wins: 667)
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Julien started out with the Canadiens and had a below-average run. Then, he found his home with the Boston Bruins, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Bruins went back for another try at the Cup in 2013 but lost to the Blackhawks. Julien also won the Jack Adams Award in 2009 with the Bruins. He ended his career by reuniting with the Canadiens but was fired in 2021. 

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17. Dave Tippett (Wins: 648)

Dave Tippett (Wins: 648)
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Tippett built a winning program with the Dallas Stars. He led the team to five straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the conference finals in 2008. He went on to coach the Coyotes and had an up-and-down tenure with the team. His time in Arizona peaked when he led the Coyotes to the conference finals in 2012. Tippett's last coaching job was with the Oilers before being fired.

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18. Ron Wilson (Wins: 648)

Ron Wilson (Wins: 648)
Mitchell Layton-Contributor-Getty Images

Wilson started out with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim before joining the Washington Capitals and taking them to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998. They were swept by the Red Wings. When his run in the nation's capital was over, Wilson was hired by the San Jose Sharks. He led them to four consecutive playoff appearances and built an offense that helped Joe Thornton win the Art Ross Trophy in 2006. Wilson hasn't coached since 2012. 

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19. Bryan Murray (Wins: 620)

Bryan Murray (Wins: 620)
NHL Images-Contributor-Getty Images

Murray was a head coach for nearly two decades. He coached the Capitals for nine seasons and led them to the playoffs seven times. After being fired and replaced with his brother, he coached the Red Wings and built a winning program there as well. After stints with the Florida Panthers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Murray took the Ottawa Senators to their first Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to Anaheim, his former team. Murray retired a year later. 

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20. Bruce Boudreau (Wins: 617)

Bruce Boudreau (Wins: 617)
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Boudreau built a winning culture everywhere he went. Boudreau coached a young Alexander Ovechkin in Washington and led the Capitals to four consecutive playoff appearances. When his time in Washington was up, he led the Anaheim Ducks to the conference finals in 2015, where they lost to the Blackhawks in seven games. He also led the Minnesota Wild to a slew of playoff appearances before becoming the head coach of the Canucks, who dismissed him in early 2023.

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21. Jacques Lemaire (Wins: 617)

Jacques Lemaire (Wins: 617)
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As a player, Lemaire won eight Stanley Cups and scored 835 points with the Canadiens. He coached his beloved Canadiens for two years before being dismissed. Lemaire then spent a decade away from coaching. When he returned, he struck gold and won the New Jersey Devils their first Stanley Cup in 1995. Then, he spent eight years with the Minnesota Wild before coaching the Devils again. Lemaire retired from coaching in 2010. 

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22. Jacques Martin (Wins: 613)

Jacques Martin (Wins: 613)
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

During Martin's nine years in Ottawa, the Senators only missed the playoffs once. After this great run, he struggled to replicate the same level of success with the Florida Panthers. He had a career resurgence with the Canadiens and led them to the conference finals in 2010. They lost to the Flyers in five games. He was fired by the Canadiens during the 2011-12 season. Then, he won back-to-back Stanley Cups as an assistant coach with the Penguins. 

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23. Todd McLellan (Wins: 575)

Todd McLellan (Wins: 575)
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

McLellan is the current head coach of the Kings. His first coaching gig was with the Sharks, where he led them to six straight playoff runs to start his career. He led the Sharks to back-to-back conference finals trips in 2010 and 2011. They lost both series in five games or less. McLellan has a 30-32 record in the playoffs. 

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24. Peter DeBoer (Wins: 560.)

Peter DeBoer (Wins: 560.)
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DeBoer won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2012. Four years later, he went back to the Stanley Cup Final with the San Jose Sharks. This time, he lost to the Penguins. He also coached the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars. 

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25. Marc Crawford (Wins: 556)

Marc Crawford (Wins: 556)
Lou Capozzola-Contributor-Getty Images

Crawford won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. After the confetti was swept up, he eventually coached the Cancucks, Kings and Stars. 

David J. Hunt is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. He ran cross country at Penn State, became a volunteer firefighter during COVID-19, and is a self taught journalist. He's a diehard Philly sports fan. When he isn't watching sports, he enjoys working out, fishing, and traveling. You can find more of his writing at The Chestnut Hill Local and The Temple News. You can follow him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.

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