Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

In the Crease: Jack Adams Award predictions

Edition Four: NHL Awards predictions.

FIXED graphic for Zach Gerson's column "In The Crease"

Graphic by Richie Han Kyaw

This week’s focus is on the Jack Adams Award, which is awarded to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” Each year, one coach is honored as the season’s best coach.

Jack Adams Award Winner: John Tortorella, Philadelphia Flyers

Coming into the season, many — including myself — predicted the Flyers to be a bottom-tier team that wouldn’t sniff the playoffs. This is far from what transpired this season. Despite not being a very talented team, the Flyers have been finding ways to win; many think the main reason for this is their coaching. The Flyers have been playing very structurally sound, meaning on defense, players are in the right positions and are not allowing high-danger chances. A team’s structure is established and implemented by the team’s coach, and Tortorella has clearly put into place a great system that has been yielding positive results. The Flyers also have the No. 2 penalty kill percentage in the league, which goes to show this defensive structure and system. Philadelphia is way ahead of schedule on their rebuild, thanks in large part to the exceptional job Tortorella has done in getting the most out of his players and getting them to play the right way, all of which has led to wins. There is no coach in the NHL that has done a more exceptional job this season than Tortorella, and therefore he deserves to win the 2023–24 Jack Adams Award for best head coach.

Jack Adams Award Runner-Up: Rick Tocchet, Vancouver Canucks

In Tocchet’s first full season as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, he has his team sitting in first place in the entire league. After not making the playoffs last season, this one-year turnaround has been very impressive. The fact that a very similar roster in prior seasons with different coaching was not able to make any noise while being seen as a Stanley Cup contender under Tocchet shows that he has been instrumental to the team’s success and has established a system that works. This team clearly has a good amount of talent. However, that talent is meaningless unless the coach is able to put a system in place that fits his players’ strengths and pushes their buttons in the right way. Fortunately for the Canucks, Tocchet has done exactly that, which — along with the team’s vast improvement — clearly demonstrates why he is an obvious finalist for the Jack Adams Award.

Jack Adams Award Third Place: Rick Bowness, Winnipeg Jets

Coming into the season, many were questioning if the time had come for the Winnipeg Jets to initiate a rebuild. However, the Jets, under Bowness, have proven all the doubters wrong. The Jets have all but solidified a spot in the playoffs, and despite losing some key players over the offseason, Bowness has gotten his players to play together as a five-man unit. Though there have been a few ups and downs for the Jets this season, all in all, they are considered to be a Stanley Cup contender, and being in this conversation after all the doubt cast around the team before the season is a testament to Bowness’ exceptional coaching.