Just moments after announcing the finalists for the Calder Trophy, the league has given out three names that will battle for another prestigious regular season award. The Jack Adams Award, given to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success” comes down to three Eastern Conference bench bosses who have taken their teams to the playoffs.
Cassidy has done nothing but win since returning to the NHL head coaching ring in 2017. In 261 regular season games running the Bruins’ bench, he’s amassed a 161-66-34 record. That .682 winning percentage would put him among the all-time great coaches in NHL history. Even when including his 47-47-9 record from when he coached the Washington Capitals, he ranks sixth all-time in winning percentage among coaches with at least 300 games. There is little doubt at this point that he is an effective leader and after taking the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals a year ago, he had them back positioned for another run as the league’s best regular season team.
Tortorella meanwhile comes with a much longer head coaching history and one that has certainly had its ups and downs. Even though he can eventually wear out his welcome, the fiery motivator has had only three seasons with a sub-.500 record. This season has been perhaps his most challenging after losing names like Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Sergei Bobrovsky to free agency and Seth Jones to a season-ending injury. The fact that the Blue Jackets still have a fighting chance in the playoffs is a credit to the work “Torts” has done with an underwhelming roster and puts him squarely in as a potential favorite for the award this season.
Vigneault will try to take away however after a triumphant return to the NHL. After spending a year on the sidelines following his dismissal from the New York Rangers, the veteran coach was back in the Metropolitan Division taking the Flyers to a 41-21-7 record. Philadelphia was playing perhaps their best hockey in a decade when the season was cut short and looked like a real contender for the Stanley Cup. The question has always been about whether Vigneault can hack it in the playoffs, but as this is a regular season award the Flyers .645 winning percentage speaks for itself.