Most NHL teams have played at least 41 games of the scheduled 82 game schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The handful who have not hit the midpoint of their season will do so shortly. With that, now is a perfect time to look at the NHL head coaches who are in the running for the 2021-22 Jack Adams Award, which has been awarded annually since the end of the 1973-74 NHL season to the coach who is, “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”
Only one coach has been awarded the Adams in consecutive seasons. That man was Jacques Demers was behind the bench for the Detroit Red Wings when he won the best coach in 1987 and 1988 At the end of the 2020-21 season, Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes won the Adams. Brind’Amour guided Carolina to the top of the Central Division with a 36-12-8 record. It was the first time the team won a division title since 2005-06. The club’s .714 points percentage was the highest in franchise history. In 2021-22 Brind’Amour has a chance to join Demers as a back-to-back winner of the Adams Award. Carolina is in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 31-9-2 record and 64 points.
2022 Jack Adams Award odds
|To Win Jack Adams Trophy|
Can Brind’Amour repeat
Barring a terrible collapse from the Carolina Hurricanes, 2021-22 will mark a fourth straight Stanley Cup Playoff appearance by the team. If the ‘Canes make the playoffs this season that will break the record Brind’Amour set last year when he led the franchise to the playoffs in three consecutive years.
Carolina began the 2021-22 campaign as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The squad began the year on a nine-game winning streak. On November 27, the team had a record of 14-2. Things went wrong for the Hurricanes in their next six games when they went 1-5. Carolina is 7-1 in their past eight games.
Brind’Amour, who captained the Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup victory in 2006, signed a three-year contract extension with the team on June 17, 2021. Later that day he won the Jack Adams Award.
Mike Sullivan looks for first Adams Award
Mike Sullivan couldn’t have asked for a better first two years behind the bench of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He and the team won back-to-back Stanley Cups in those years. Things have not gone as well for Sullivan and the Penguins since then. Sullivan has led the team to the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, but the team has failed to move past the second round.
The Penguins had the odds stacked against them from the beginning of the season, as they were missing their two biggest stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin because of injury. More injuries and COVID-19 protocols kept the team from icing all their starters at practice until mid-January.
Despite the issues he has faced, Sullivan has the Penguins in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 27-11-7 record with 61 points.
Gerard Gallant looks to join an elite company
Four NHL coaches have won the Jack Adams Award with two teams. Those bench bosses are Jacques Lemaire (New Jersey Devils, Minnesota Wild), Pat Quinn (Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks), Scotty Bowman (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings) and John Tortorello (Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets). Gerard Gallant, who is currently behind the bench for the New York Rangers, is in the running to join those four. Gallant won the Adams Award in 2018 with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Gallant joined the Rangers in June 2021. The club is 29-13-4 and in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points.
The last time the Rangers made the playoffs was 2017. If Gallant can get the New York club back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, expect him to get some serious consideration for the Adams Award.
Our pick for the Jack Adams Award
If Gallant can keep the Rangers on track and get the club into the playoffs, I expect he will win the 2022 Jack Adams Award. If the Rangers slip, I think the award is Brind’Amour’s to lose.
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