Coaches from two Canadian NHL teams have been nominated for the Jack Adams Award, the NHL announced Wednesday.
Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers join Columbus Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella as the three finalists for the award given to the coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
The NHL Broadcasters’ Association voted on the nominees and chose three coaches all in their second seasons with their respective teams.
Babcock led the Maple Leafs to a 40-27-15 record and 95 points. The Leafs earned 26 more points than last season and made the playoffs for the first time in an 82-game season since 2003-04.
Babcock has never won the award, but finished second in 2013-14 and third in 2007-08 while with the Detroit Red Wings.
McLellan guided the Oilers to a 47-26-9 mark, good for 103 points and the second seed in the Pacific Division. With McLellan at the helm, the Oilers reached the post-season for the first time since making the 2006 Stanley Cup Final and surpassed 100 points in the standings for the first time since 1986-87. The team’s 33-point improvement from last season led the NHL.
McLellan was a finalist for the award in 2008-09, finishing third while with the San Jose Sharks.
Tortorella helped the Blue Jackets establish new franchise records for wins, points, home wins (28) and road points (51). A 50-24-8 record, and 108 points, put Columbus in third place in the tight Metropolitan Division. Backed by 16-game winning streak from Nov. 29 to Jan. 3 – the second-longest streak in NHL history – the Blue Jackets had 32 more points than in 2015-16.
Tortorella won the award in 2003-04 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was also a finalist in 2002-03 and 2011-12. The latter nomination came when he was coaching the New York Rangers.
The winner will be announced June 21 in Las Vegas.