2023-03-12 · 3 min read · NHL/Hockey
Jim Montgomery (Boston Bruins) and Lindy Ruff (New Jersey Devils)

Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images | Sporting News

I was asked an interesting question the other day by a friend who wanted to know who I thought this year's Jack Adams winner as the NHL’s coach of the year was going to be. As I'm a sucker for a good sports question, especially regarding hockey, I decided to dive into the stats and provide you guys with my top candidates for the Jack Adams award this year.
Front Runner - Jim Montgomery (Boston Bruins)
  • After doing my research and analysis it became readily apparent that there's only one choice for the top dog for this award so far this season, and that is Jim Montgomery. Before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the tightly contested 3-2 battle Thursday night, they were riding a 10-game winning streak. The Bruins hold a commanding lead in the President's Trophy race and the rest of their division. In fact, they are on pace for 65 wins and 136 points, totals that would break NHL records for wins shared by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning. As well as the record for points held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. They're already in the record books as the fastest team in NHL history to reach 100 points in a season, taking only 61 games, one less than the legendary 1976-77 Canadiens (who ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup). The Bruins have a great balance between stars in or entering their prime such as David Pastrnak, who is second in the NHL with 44 goals and on pace to career highs in most categories, as well as Linus Ullmark who's found another gear with the Bruins and is currently one of the leading candidates for the Vezina trophy. Then there are savvy vets who are still playing at a high level such as captain Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand, all of whom are holdovers from Boston’s 2011 Stanley cup winning team. The Bruins have scored more goals than every team except the aggressively offensive-oriented Edmonton Oilers, as well as allowing the fewest goals in the league by over 20. All these metrics lead to their astonishing league-pacing goal differential of +104, close to double the second-place Carolina Hurricanes mark of +59. The Beantown Boys are also the only squad with an SRS over 1 at a league-leading 1.67. While many people deserve credit for the Bruins incredibly impressive season so far, I’d argue there’s nobody more so than bench boss Jim Montgomery. Given it wasn't that long ago that he was in rehab for alcohol abuse and dismissed as a head coach, we should all be impressed with where he is now.
Next Best - Lindy Ruff (New Jersey Devils)
  • Historically, most commonly the Jack Adams award is given to a candidate who took a team that was a cellar dweller the year before to the playoffs the next year; this accurately describes Lindy Ruff. While New Jersey did spend the summer improving its roster with the intention of becoming a playoff team for the first time since 2017-18, their improvement is more than a result of those adds. The Devils rank in top six in goals for, goals allowed and SRS, and are the only team to do so outside of Boston. Last season the Devils ended their campaign with a 27-46-9 record (63 points), finishing seventh in the Metro division. This season they are 42-16-6 (90 points), while sitting second in the Metro division, only four points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils even tied a franchise record with 13 consecutive victories this season. This year doesn't feel like a fluke either, instead, it lends itself to the idea that New Jersey is opening a championship window, which feels likely to last at least a few seasons.
Wildcard - Dave Hakstol (Seattle Kraken)
  • While it feels like he will fall at least behind the above two candidates, Hakstol’s impressive job manning the Krakens bench must be noted. The Kraken is only behind the Devils in improvement over last season, their points percentage has jumped from .366 in their inaugural campaign to .625 this year. Seattle sits tied for fourth in goals this year after having the fourth least goals scored last year. There are multiple factors leading to this such as adding Andre Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand in the offseason and Matty Beniers becoming a full-time NHLer and high-quality playmaker. The main factor though is Hakstol’s coaching as he changed the Krakens offensive philosophy, ultimately leading to them doing away with overreliance on point shots, to a well-oiled offence predicated on passing and working the high-danger areas. Hakstol deserves the majority of the credit for his ability to release the Kraken from the bottom tier of NHL teams. If the Kraken gets hot to finish the season, he might just surprise us come award time.
  • Rod Brind'Amour (Hurricanes
  • Don Granato (Sabres)
Sports Tree Profile

By: Chase Howard


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