The NHL awards season is rolling along.
The NHL unveiled the finalists for the 2022 Jack Adams Award on Thursday morning, with Florida’s Andrew Brunette, New York’s Gerrard Gallant, and Calgary’s Darryl Sutter emerging as the finalists to take home the hardware.
Brunette’s case is among the more interesting of the bunch, given that he’s not actually the Panthers’ full-time head coach at the moment and still has the interim tag next to his title. Taking over for Joel Quenneville early this season couldn’t have been easy. But that transition of power was seamless, with Brunette leading the Panthers to a 58-15-6 record that earned them the first President’s Trophy trophy in franchise history and home-ice advantage all through the playoffs.
Under Brunette’s stewardship, the Panthers evolved into one of the deadliest offensive teams in the salary cap era, averaging over four goals per game while no other team averaged over 3.8.
At the helm of an exciting Rangers team, Gallant earns his first Jack Adams nod since taking home the award for himself back in 2018 after guiding the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in their first-ever season.
Gallant certainly benefited from some strong goaltending by Igor Shesterkin in his first year on Broadway. But that doesn’t mean the veteran boss bench didn’t help take his team to new heights, with the Rangers earning 52 wins and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs while a number of players experienced career-best seasons.
And then there’s Sutter, the consensus favorite, who seems perfectly suited to the market he coaches in.
Sutter returned to the Flames last season with the team in a state of disarray, and within one year, has built them back into a Western Conference juggernaut, employing a system that allowed the roster’s many star players such as Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm to flourish while ensuring that every other piece of the lineup plays their role to a tee.
The Flames finished with a 50-21-11 record just one year after failing to make the playoffs in a weak North Division, taking the Pacific Division crown this time around and finishing in the top-10 among all NHL teams for both goals for and goals against.
Sutter brought stability to the Flames organization at a time they desperately needed it. And now, they have a clear path to the Stanley Cup.
Fans will have to wait until the Conference Final to find out which of these three finalists ultimately comes out on top.