NHL Awards: Who will win the Jack Adams Award in 2020?

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 19: Head coach Craig Berube of the Philadelphia Flyers watches the game against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 19: Head coach Craig Berube of the Philadelphia Flyers watches the game against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Jack Adams Award is awarded each year to the best coach in the NHL. It’s probably the hardest of the NHL awards to predict. Who do we think will win it in 2020?

Coaching is a hard job in general, but coaching professional athletes is extremely difficult. Aside from simply managing millionaires, finding game plans to defeat other coaches requires hard work and creativity. Let’s talk about the Jack Adams Award, which is one of the NHL awards. It is given to the best coach in the NHL.

The odds to win the Jack Adams Award, according to Bovada Sportsbook, has Joel Quenneville as the best bet, followed by John Hynes and David Quinn. Vegas odds are often correct, but not always. Here’s my prediction for the Jack Adams Award in 2019-20.

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Runner Up: Bill Peters – Calgary Flames

Bill Peters is simply a magician. In Carolina, his team never made the playoffs, but with the Calgary Flames, he took a team that in the nine seasons before him, under three different coaches, had only made the playoffs three times. In fact, even when making the playoffs, their best record was third in their division.

= Peters came to town and the Flames not only won their division, but they also claimed the second-best record in the entire NHL. Not only that but if you look really closely, last season’s record was the second-best in Flames history. I don’t think it was a fluke.

Peters will face some tough competition this season, as I see so many new teams having more success than I have in the past. That being said, I don’t see the Pacific improving nearly as much as the other four divisions. If all teams stayed at last year’s progressive rate, I’d choose Peters, but I see too many teams getting better.

Runner Up: Joel Quenneville – Florida Panthers

It’s a rarity to win coach of the year twice, but Coach Q has an excellent chance. How he never won with the Blackhawks is mind-boggling. History shows that voters love to see coaches new to a team improve their rankings, and he’ll reach the voting finals with the Florida Panthers this season. If you’ve been reading my predictions, you know how high I am on the Panthers, and they’re not even the team I cheer for.

Joel Quenneville has a history of pulling teams from underperformers to contenders. If the playoffs were considered as they should be, he’d be a perennial contender for the award. In 21 years of being a head coach in the NHL, with three different teams and combinations of hundreds of different players, he has only missed the playoffs a total of two times.

In Chicago, he took a team that missed the playoffs nine of out their last ten seasons and brought them to a conference final, followed by a Stanley Cup victory the next year. Now back with GM, Dale Tallon, he joins a team eerily similar to that Blackhawks team. They are young and have suffered from playoff droughts, but are better set up. He has to get the nomination this year.

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Wild Card: Ralph Krueger – Buffalo Sabres

There are two things to be noted about the Jack Adams Award, one: there has only been one back to back winner since 1974. And two: there have only been seven repeat winners. Bearing that in mind, let’s look at another new coach. Ralph Krueger makes perfect sense to watch in his first season with the Buffalo Sabres to make the voting finals.

Fun fact about Ralph Krueger: He’s only had one season of NHL experience as a head coach, and it was the shortened season of 2012-13. I feel like he got the raw deal when he got fired. Krueger managed an Oilers team to its best winning percentage in four seasons, and when they let him go, the winning percentage went down again.

Now, bear in mind, it’s a bit of cheating as I’ve seen them play for five games, but even before then, he was on my mind. The team he takes over is very similar to the Oilers team of 2012-13. The main difference is that the Buffalo Sabres are slightly better on paper, and way more ready when you watch them. If the team sticks with Krueger, unlike Edmonton, he’ll be and interesting coach to look at. Just give him time.

Winner: Craig Berube – St. Louis Blues

Last year’s Stanley Cup-winning coach, Craig Berube was rewarded for his efforts with a nomination for the Jack Adams, but this season, he’ll win it all. Of all the coaches last season, I felt that Berube deserved the award, and it wasn’t even close.

How it was not considered more heavily that he took a last place team in the St. Louis Blues all the way to glory is astounding. But the voting is for the regular season, so I guess it makes sense. If he had the team for the whole season last year, he should have won. Now that the Blues have had a full season with the coach, there is no way he doesn’t win the award.

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Berube’s .651 winning percentage was not the best, but now that the players understand his methods fully, he’ll be the best. The Blues soaring success last season was not a mistake. They will lead not only their division but the entire NHL, showing that not all teams suffer from the Stanley Cup hangover. After his team won it all last season, he’ll win his solo award this year.