As the 2018-19 season comes to an end, let’s take a look at some of the top coaches in the running for the Jack Adams Award. The Awards ceremony is held in Las Vegas and is set to take place after the Stanley Cup settles into its home for the next year. Here are some prime candidates from across the league that could take home the coveted Jack Adams Award!
The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association at the end of the regular season.
Predictions for the 2018-19 Jack Adams Award
Bill Peters: Calgary Flames
107 PTS 50W, 24L, 7OTL
Since his arrival this summer, Bill Peters has sent the Calgary Flames on a path of ascension to the top of their division. The club is rounding out the season with 107 points. This is a stark contrast from last year, when they wrapped it up with just 84 points, landing in fifth.
Last year, the Flames found themselves sitting at 26th in the league with 218 goals. With Peters at the helm, they’ve risen to second with 288. After making his way into town, he set a new pace for the team, and they’ve been playing some astounding hockey ever since.
After a lackluster 2017-18 season, the Flames look like a completely different team. And in two significant ways, they are. Peters’ addition of both Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to the bench was a bold move, and it’s served the club well. Lindham tallied 78 points, while Hanifin added 33 over the season.
In their last 20 games, the Flames went 12-8-0. They boast four three-game win streaks in that span. Overall, Calgary has made a significant turn around since Peters took the wheel. He’s a solid contender for the Adams Award this year.
Craig Berube: St. Louis Blues
97PTS 44W, 28L, 9OTL
After taking over the sinking St. Louis Blues ship in November, Berube drove them back into the playoff race. The club is even sniffing around the top spot in the Central Division. Although his effect was not felt instantly, the club has gone 37-19-6 since his takeover.
Despite being behind the Blues bench for just 63 tilts, Berube has had quite the campaign. In their last 20 games, St. Louis went 11-5-4. The defence stepped up under Berube and found themselves letting up just 28.6 shots against per game, with an average of 2.69 goals against.
Berube undoubtedly earned a nomination for the Adams Award after taking a team that was stacked with potential yet flopping and transforming them into a well-oiled machine.
Jon Cooper: Tampa Bay Lightning
126PTS 61W, 16L, 4OTL
Perhaps the most likely unlikely candidate for the award is Jon Cooper because he’s coaching the best team in the NHL right now. The bar was set extremely high for the talent-rich Tampa Bay Lightning roster this season. As the year comes to a close, the team has arguably met and exceeded those expectations.
Tampa Bay is making history. They’ve secured 60 wins in the regular season, becoming just the third team in the league to do so. The Lightning also bagged the Presidents Trophy after only 73 contests.
Cooper is running one impressive show in Tampa Bay this year. The Lightning possess a crushing powerplay unit, sitting first in the league at 28.1%. Their penalty kill is third overall, with a suffocating 84.9%. Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy has been a brick wall all season, with a .925 save percentage.
The team was expected to post between 90 and 112 points. That’s just another expectation they’ve surpassed as they round out the season with 126 points. The Lightning came into this year with a well-equipped roster that was set up to dominate.
Cooper should not be counted out just because the Adams Award traditionally goes to the coach of the best team. He’s managed the Bolts to the top of the league. They have been a force to be reckoned with all season. His name deserves to be thrown into the circle of contenders.
Barry Trotz: New York Islanders
101PTS 47W, 27L, 7OTL
You can’t talk about the Adams Award this year without hearing the name Barry Trotz. When he came to the city after leading the Washington Capitals to their Stanley Cup victory, the New York Islanders were quite the mess.
The Islanders were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last year. Trotz came in and completely turned the tide, coaching them to second in the Metropolitan Division. Last year, the club wrapped up with 293 goals against, averaging 3.57 goals against per game. This season, they’ve dropped that number down to 191 goals against, for 2.36 per game.
The Islanders are on the heels of Trotz’s former team and defending Cup champions, the Capitals. After the organization lost John Tavares, most people wrote the Islanders off. Trotz took on a roster that was unremarkable and faltering and made them a formidable opponent across the league.