The Jack Adams Award is awarded every season to the coach that contributes the most to a team’s success. This season’s finalists are Mike Babcock, Todd McLellan, and John Tortorella. All these coaches are great, but I think Mike Babcock deserves the award because he developed eleven rookies and created the Nazem Kadri that we know and love today.
Todd McLellan lead the Edmonton Oilers to the first playoff berth in eleven years. But most of the Oilers’ success can be traced back to the unbelievable year Cam Talbot is having and the soon-to-be best player in the world, Connor McDavid. Any team with McDavid is a good team, so don’t be too engulfed in this “Todd McLellan really fixed Edmonton!” idea. It’s nonsense.
John Tortorella surprised the hockey world by leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to their third postseason appearance in franchise history. Most of their success came from that amazing 16 game win streak which almost broke the league’s record, but after that winning streak, they were .500, with a 23-23 record (I counted OT and SO losses as losses).
Mike Babcock started the season with six players who have never played in the NHL, and five players who were about to start their first full season. He turned Nazem Kadri into one of the league’s best two-way centres, and sky-rocketed the performance of Jake Gardiner. He managed to bring this young and inexperienced team to the playoffs where they gave the Washington Capitals a run for their money. He constantly pushed all the players to get better. William Nylander was playing the best hockey of his career so far in the playoffs, thanks to the guidance of Babcock.
The fact that he was able to bring the best out of all his players and exceed to many expectations by bringing this team to the playoffs for the first time in four years should be enough to land him a well-deserved Jack Adams Award.
Mike Babcock is considered to be the best hockey coach in the world and the way he lead the young Maple Leafs team through a vigorous NHL season, the amount of success this team had, is all because of him.
Just give the award already.
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