Jack Adams Award Predictions 2022

Jack Adams award
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Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s 2022 award predictions series. As the playoffs begin, we’ll be taking a look at potential nominees and winners for the major NHL awards. The 2022 NHL Awards will be a one-hour show between Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, hosted by the same city that will host those games. Tonight, we will cover the Jack Adams predictions for 2022.

2022 Jack Adams Award Predictions

The Jack Adams Award is given annually to the coach in the NHL who is judged to have best contributed to their team’s success. Last season, Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour received the honour. In just his third season as a head coach, Brind’Amour led a young Hurricanes team to first place in their division. That represented a huge step forward for a team that had placed fourth the two years prior.

This season, there are a number of quality candidates who all have a merited argument for the award. They include veteran coaches, first-timers, and those who assumed the controls mid-season. Despite the size of this year’s field, there are three contenders who stand a cut above the rest. Within those three, there is one candidate who has established himself as this year’s most deserving recipient.

Here are the predictions for the top-three candidates and the ultimate winner of the 2022 Jack Adams Award.

Andrew Brunette, Florida Panthers

Of all the nominees, perhaps none had a more daunting task than Andrew Brunette. In late October, former head coach Joel Quenneville was relieved of his duties following the infamous Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault cover-up scandal. As a result, Brunette was given the reigns. Brunette had never served as a head coach in the NHL before and was under immense pressure to win now. He accomplished just that.

Under Brunette, the Florida Panthers had their best regular season in franchise history. They put up an incredible record of 58-18-6, to the tune of 122 points. That was the most points of any team in the NHL and earned them the President’s Trophy. Their +94 goal differential and 340 goals scored also served as the best marks in the league, respectively.

It could be argued that Brunette had the advantage of being able to coach a roster that was already stacked. Although that’s true, Brunette still seemed to be able to maximize the talent he was given. In no way did the team take a step back from last year, instead, they found a way to improve. Great roster or not, Brunette deserves immense credit for the team’s ability to do so.

Jared Bednar, Colorado Avalanche

Considering the continued growth and success of the Colorado Avalanche over the past few years, it’s a bit surprising that Jared Bednar hasn’t won one of these awards yet. No, Bednar didn’t miraculously resurrect a bottom-feeding team into a playoff contender this season. Nor did he step in mid-season like Brunette and achieve first place in the league. What Bednar did do, however, is ensure that his Avalanche team remained a Western Conference powerhouse. Few teams looked as good as the Avs did all year under his watch.

With a sparkling 56-19-7 record, the Avalanche recorded the most points they have ever tallied in a regular season. That record was good enough for first place in the Central Division, and second-best in the whole league. At home, where Bednar controlled the matchup advantage, the Avs only lost five games in regulation, the lowest amount of home regulation losses in the league.

It’s also worth noting that Bednar had to cope with injuries to key players, such as Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, and Bowen Byram. Bednar might lack the great “story” of other candidates, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving.

Darryl Sutter, Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames don’t even look like the same team from last season. When Darryl Sutter was – surprisingly – hired mid-season last year, the Flames looked like a discombobulated mess. There was in-fighting on the team, they served up several ugly losses, and they missed the postseason in a relatively weak Canadian Division. Then, in the offseason, long-time captain Mark Giordano was claimed in the expansion draft. Needless to say, this year could have gone several different ways for the Flames, many of which wouldn’t have been good.

What has happened is almost magic, though. Despite the loss of their former captain, Sutter found a way to engage a Flames team that desperately needed it. He implemented his famous Sutter-style hockey and the buy-in was immense. The Flames suddenly look structured defensively, dangerous offensively, and a force to be had in all facets of the game. Their 50-21-11 record wasn’t the best in franchise history, but it didn’t have to be. They still skated to first place in the Pacific Division with ease.

Perhaps most surprising is how the likes of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk benefitted from Sutter’s style. Both players hit the 100-point mark for the first time in their careers, attesting to the fact that the best offence can come from great defence.

As a result, the Flames have rightly emerged as a popular Stanley Cup pick due to the almost complete lack of weaknesses in their game. Sutter is a massive part of that stunning turnaround.

Winner: Darryl Sutter, Calgary Flames

All three of these candidates have a legitimate claim, but Sutter shines as the most deserving. The turnaround from last year’s edition of the Flames to this year’s version is easily the most dramatic in the league. That’s especially the case if you consider that the roster isn’t that much different from last year, with only a couple of tweaks.

Additionally, Sutter took what could have been a tumultuous situation with the loss of Giordano and made it a non-factor almost immediately. Finally, the way that the Flames’ star players blossomed in ways they had never before is a great example of the refined Sutter system working as intended and achieving incredible success.

Sutter has long established himself as one of the best coaches in league history. He’s won a Stanley Cup but has never won the Jack Adams Award despite having more than a few worthy seasons. Considering what he has done for the Flames this year, this is his time to finally take home the coveted award.

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