The finalists have been announced for all the major awards, but like every year there is much debate over who should take home each piece of hardware. In fact, with a shortened season and unorthodox playoff scenario, the views and reasoning behind each vote will perhaps vary even more wildly.
So as we get closer to the return of NHL hockey in Edmonton and Toronto, where 24 teams will try to chase the Stanley Cup, we’re going to ask you, the PHR faithful, to explain who you would vote for if given the chance.
After looking at the Calder Trophy finalists, let’s shift our focus to the Jack Adams Award, given to “the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” In recent years, teams with top records have been overlooked with ones overachieving relative to early-season expectations often getting the nod.
This year’s group of finalists features someone from both groups with Bruce Cassidy (Bruins), John Tortorella (Blue Jackets), and Alain Vigneault (Flyers) comprising the top three.
Cassidy helped lead Boston to the top record in this shortened season where the Bruins still managed to reach 100 points in just 70 games with a 44-14-12 record. While they were expected to be a contender heading into the year featuring a strong attack and one of the stingiest goaltending tandems in the league, they were the class of the field for most of the season which certainly makes Cassidy deserving of the nomination. He has never won this award in the past despite putting up a very quiet 161-66-34 record since going behind their bench.
After being gutted in free agency with the departures of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Sergei Bobrovsky (among others), expectations were low for Columbus heading into the season. Instead, it was believed that they’d be in for a transition year, especially since they opted to go with the relatively unproven tandem of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins between the pipes. Instead, while they struggled as expected offensively, they became one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league and were in the mix for a playoff spot when the pandemic hit despite a litany of injuries to core players. Tortorella is a two-time winner of the award after winning in 2004 with Tampa Bay and 2017 with Columbus.
As for Vigneault, he helped lead Philadelphia to their best points percentage in nearly a decade at .645 with a top-ten offense and defense. In doing so, the Flyers went from a team that missed the playoffs to one that still has a chance at the top seed in the Eastern Conference as a 9-1 record in their final ten games allowed them to leapfrog Pittsburgh for the second spot in the Metropolitan Division; in doing so, they qualified for the round robin seeding games instead of the play-in round. If he wins, it would Vigneault’s second Jack Adams Award as he also won in 2007 with Vancouver.
There’s a strong case to be made for each coach but which one should take home the prize? Cast your vote below.
Mobile users, click here to vote.