Jack Adams Award Finalists: Gallant vs. Ruff vs. Trotz

Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars, and Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals, and  are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Jack Adams Award which is awarded to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

Who wins the coach of the year award as voted on by the members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association?

Why Gerard Gallant deserves the Jack Adams

The NHL says:

Gallant led the Panthers (47-26-9, 103 points) to the Atlantic Division title and franchise records for wins and points in a season, besting their previous marks of 43 wins and 98 points established in 1999-00. Florida established several other team marks this season, including longest overall winning streak (12: Dec. 15 to Jan. 10), longest home winning streak (7: Dec. 10 to Jan. 3) and longest road winning streak (6: Dec. 15 to Jan. 10). A Jack Adams Award finalist for the first time, Gallant has piloted the Panthers to a double-digit point gain over the previous season in both years at the helm (+25 in 2014-15, +12 in 2015-16).

Of the three coaches nominated, Gallant’s team had the lowest expectations coming into the season. His team missed the playoffs the year before; however, they showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season. Gallant continued to build on the young team with some some trusty veterans peppered in. As a whole, the group improved on their goal differential from -17 in 2014-15 to +36 in 2015-16. He must be doing something right if he can get Father Time himself, Jaromir Jagr, to want to keep playing.

Why Lindy Ruff deserves the Jack Adams

The NHL says:

Ruff directed the Stars (50-23-9, 109 points) to the Central Division and Western Conference titles and second place in the NHL overall standings. The team was a League-best 28-8-3 by New Year’s Day and went on to capture its first division title since 2005-06, first conference crown since 2002-03 and reach the 50-win milestone for the first time since 2006-07. The Stars scored a League-leading 265 goals and recorded the third-best goal differential (+37). Ruff is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the third time, following consecutive appearances representing the Buffalo Sabres in 2006 (1st) and 2007 (2nd).

The Central Division is the most competitive in the NHL. Ruff guided his troops to the top of it after missing the playoffs the year prior; accumulating nine more wins and 17 more standing points in 2015-16 His group is stacked with offensive talent led by The Benguin (Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin) and their combined 162 points. With Dallas this season, Ruff reached the 700 win plateau, and is only one of five coaches to achieve that level. He has the third most wins (702) for an active coach behind Joel Quenneville and Ken Hitchcock.

Why Barry Trotz deserves the Jack Adams

The NHL says:

Trotz guided the Capitals (56-18-8, 120 points) to the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season club, setting franchise records for total wins and road wins (27). Their 120 points and 29 home wins were just one shy of club records. The Capitals were dominant at both ends of the ice, placing second in team offense (3.02 G/G) and team defense (2.33 GA/G). They also ranked among the League leaders in special teams (5th on the power play, 21.9%, and 2nd in penalty killing, 85.2%). Trotz is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the third time, following back-to-back appearances with the Nashville Predators in 2010 (2nd) and 2011 (3rd).

Under Trotz’s watch this season, the Capitals were essentially the Golden State Warriors of the NHL with just a few more losses. The team clinched the first playoff spot in the league with a month left to go in the regular season. Washington improved by 19 points in the standings and won 11 more games than they had in years prior. Plus, Trotz is just an all around good dude. His homecoming in Nashville at the All Star Game proved as much.

Who wins the Jack Adams Award?

Gerard Gallant. Our suit wearing friends in the Broadcasters’ Association love nothing more than a turnaround story. Just look at last year. They awarded Bob Hartley the trophy for his magic with the Calgary Flames. The year before, Patrick Roy, and a year before that Paul Maclean.


Who should win the Jack Adams Award?

There were two guys who received some pre-announcement buzz, but ultimately didn’t garner enough votes to get a nomination: Bruce Boudreau and Mike Sullivan.

Yes, Boudreau got the axe, but this is a regular season award. Prior to the Christmas break, the Anaheim Ducks were 12-15-6. They turned it around with a 34-10-5 record on the way to the Pacific Division title. If anything, the Broadcasters’ Association saw the future and saved everyone from a super awkward situation.

Mike Sullivan took over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 12 after Mike Johnston was relieved of his coaching duties. At the time, the Penguins were 15-10-3 and languishing offensively. Promoted from Wilkes-Barre Scranton, Sullivan amassed a 33-16-5 record behind the bench with the big club.