As the start of the regular season edges ever closer; it’s time to make some super-early trophy predictions and I’m starting with the Jack Adams Award. The trophy, named after former player, coach GM and Hall of Famer Jack Adams, is awarded to the best coach each season. The winner is decided by a poll of the NHL Broadcasters Association.
The 2016 Jack Adams Award went to Barry Trotz, head coach of Carl’s Washington Capitols. The Caps might have thrown everyone by not winning the Stanley Cup, but the team dominated the Eastern Conference and were a single point away (120) from tying for the most points in franchise history. Dallas’ Lindy Ruff and Florida’s Gerrard Gallant were the other finalists.
Gerard Gallant – remember the days when a game against the Florida Panthers was a guaranteed two points? Well those days have gone. The Panthers finished last season top of the Atlantic Division and have made good off-season moves, securing the services of strong players including Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad.
Mike Sullivan – the Pittsburgh Penguins coach may have lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup, but he did it with former coach Mike Johnston’s team. His short time with the team has been impressive, but if the team can repeat its success then Sullivan might be considered a finalist in his own right.
Joel Quenneville – the Chicago Blackhawks are the bookie’s favourite to win the Stanley Cup this season, and with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Jordin Tootoo on the roster, it’s easy to see why. Well Kane and Toews anyway. If Quenneville can guide the Blackhawks to victory, he could well be looking at his second Jack Adams Award.
Jared Bednar – after Patrick Roy upped and left the Colorado Avalanche in weird circumstances, the team turned to the Lake Erie Monsters’ Calder Cup winning head coach to take lead. The Avs probably aren’t going to win anything this season, and few think that they’ll even make the playoffs. But, the Jack Adams rarely goes to the coach who wins the cup, so it’s possible that if Colorado perform well, Bednar could be an outside bet.