The NHL announced the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award on Friday, given to the “coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”
This year’s finalists are St. Louis’ Craig Berube, Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper and the NY Islanders’ Barry Trotz.
When Berube was named head coach of the Blues on Nov. 19, the team was 7-9-3 and ranked 30th in the NHL. They were last in the league on Jan. 3, but from that point on St. Louis went 30-10-5 and their 65 points topped the league. This stretch included an 11-game winning streak from Jan. 23 to Feb. 19 and a 12-1-1 record in the month of February, which tied a franchise record for wins in a calendar month. Berube is a first-time Jack Adams finalist and vying to be the fifth Blues coach to ever win the award.
Cooper led the Lightning to a 62-win season, tying them with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for most in a single season. Tampa Bay’s 128 points was the fourth-highest total in league history as well, trailing only the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens (132), 1995-96 Red Wings (131), and 1977-78 Canadiens (129). Tampa’s 325 goals was the most in the salary cap era and they finished with an impressive plus-103 goal differential. The Lightning also finished with the league’s best power play (28.2 per cent) and penalty kill (85 per cent). This is the second time Cooper has been a Jack Adams finalist, finishing third in the voting in 2013-14. He’d be the second Lightning coach to win the award, following John Tortorella in 2003-04.
Following a Stanley Cup win with Washington in 2018, Trotz joined the Islanders and led them to one of the greatest turnarounds in league history. Not only did the Islanders improve by 23 standings points and return to the playoffs under Trotz, but they also became the first team in 100 years to allow the fewest goals in a season that immediately followed a season in which they yielded the most. New York, which gave up 296 goals in 2017-18, surrendered just 191 in 2018-19 and were the only team to finish with less than 200 goals against. Trotz is fourth on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list and this is the fourth time he’s been a finalist for the Jack Adams. In 2009-10 and 2010-11 he finished second and third, respectively, and won the award in 2015-16 when he was with the Washington Capitals. He would be the second Jack Adams winner in Islanders history, following Al Arbour.
The Jack Adams Award is voted on by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. All award winners will be announced on June 19 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.