30Bill Peters Jack Adams
Photo Credit: Aidan Wong/FlamesNation

For Your Consideration: Bill Peters for the Jack Adams Award

Coming out of the 2017-18 season, the Flames knew they had to make a change behind the bench. A mere 10 days after their season ended, they let go of Glen Gulutzan. Not even a week later, they hired Bill Peters.

Peters had some of the baggage associated with Gulutzan – namely, coaching high-corsi teams that never even made it to the playoffs – but so far, it’s impossible to argue his addition has been anything but a success, and something he might just deserve some hardware for.

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The award

The Jack Adams Award is given to the coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” It’s named after Adams, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1959 as a player but is arguably better known for spending 36 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings as head coach and general manager. He’s the only person in Stanley Cup history to have captured the trophy as a player, coach and GM.

The award is given based on a vote by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association following the regular season.

Recent winners

  • 2017-18: Gerard Gallant (Vegas)
  • 2016-17: John Tortorella (Columbus)
  • 2015-16: Barry Trotz (Washington)

Last year’s voting leaders

(Voting points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.)

Player Voting
1st 2nd 3rd Team record
Gerard Gallant (VGK) 525 102 5 0 51-24-7, 109 points
Bruce Cassidy (BOS) 153 2 40 23 50-20-12, 112 points
Jared Bednar (COL) 114 4 25 19 43-30-9, 95 points
Paul Maurice (WPG) 46 0 12 10 52-20-10, 114 points
Peter Laviolette (NSH) 41 0 9 14 53-18-11, 117 points

The general trend seen in Jack Adams winners is that a team voters expected to be bad actually ended up experiencing success, and so, the coach gets credit for it. We saw this firsthand when Bob Hartley won the award for unexpectedly coaching the Flames to a divisional playoff spot in 2015; he was let go the following season when the team stopped overachieving and returned to form.

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It was also evidenced this past season, when Gallant won the award for coaching Vegas to a Pacific Division championship in its inaugural season. Expansion teams are rarely expected to be good out of the gate, let alone that good, and it was a near-unanimous decision.

While the Golden Knights went from not existing to 109 points, the coaches of the other teams in the top five also saw substantial point additions in the standings: Boston went up by 17, Colorado 47, Winnipeg 27, and Nashville went up 23 points.

Handicapping Peters’ candidacy

The Flames underachieved in 2017-18, and it’s entirely possible they’re overachieving in 2018-19, but you can’t deny their turnaround this season. They went from 84 points the previous season – barely a 0.500 club, largely in part thanks to the loser point – to 71 points 51 games in, on pace for 114 points on the season – a potential increase in 30 points.

The Flames aren’t the only team that has improved from last season to this one, however. Under Travis Green’s second year as head coach, the Canucks have gone from just 73 points in 2017-18 to 52 in 51 games this season, on pace for 84 – an improvement of 11 points. The Sabres, meanwhile, are in Phil Housley’s second season as head coach, and they’ve gone from dead last in the NHL with 62 points to 15th, already with 54 points in 48 games – on pace for 92 points, also an improvement of 30.

The Canucks and Sabres are bubble teams, though; there are two other teams currently in the top 10 that were near the bottom of the barrel just a year ago. The Canadiens, with Claude Julien in his second full season as their head coach, have gone from 71 points – 28th in the NHL in 2017-18 – to 61 points in 51 games so far this season, on pace for 98 points, an improvement of 27. And the Islanders, with Barry Trotz coming off of a Stanley Cup with the Capitals and in his first season as their head coach, went from 80 points in 2017-18 – 22nd in the NHL that season – to 63 points in 49 games this year, on pace for 105 points, a potential improvement of 25.

Then, of course, there’s Jon Cooper with the Lightning, a team that’s been far and away the best in the NHL so far this season. His squad’s dominance certainly can’t be counted out.

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It’s likely a decent field of candidates, but one that Peters should be near the top of, regardless: if the Flames stick to their pace their improvement will have been far more dramatic than most other teams, and they’d also be one of the top teams in the NHL, period. It’s difficult to argue with that.

  • Skylardog

    We see first hand on a daily basis how Peters is manipulating lines, ice time, and situational play to provide the best chance for the Flames to win. Not sure voters in other places will pick up on that.

    He has created the conditions for success.
    But I am also crazy and still have a few concerns. Pretty sure they will be gone about 2 rounds into the playoffs.

    Isn’t the Jack Adams the kiss of death for a coach? Maybe we just let Green have it in Vancouver and keep Peters quietly under the radar.

      • Skylardog

        Not clear, bad me. Doubt will be gone by end of second round, not the Flames.

        However if you are on here often, I put my mouth on the line and said that the Flames would not get out of the Pacific if they left the top line intact, but would get to the Finals if they split them up, leaving JG with either Mony or Lind, but not both. I said that before Christmas.

        I have taken to adding another top 6 forward at the deadline as an option to help get scoring from more than just the top line and Matty. It may solve my scoring depth concerns.

        • wot96

          I’m here often and I know you have said this. I understand what you are saying and I think there is some merit to it. Another dozen wins and it would be time to experiment by moving someone around – though I don’t think that will happen.

          However, I think the Flames get out of the Pacific if their special teams stay special. While the refs will not want to decide a series by calling too many penalties, they can’t let teams take excessive liberties either. Teams facing the Flames will have to be careful because the first PP is pretty lethal and the second team seems to be improving. The PK is looking quite good too. If the Flames play better defence limiting the HD opportunities, and stay at least even 5v5, they should go a long way regardless of whether they break up the top line.

        • oilcanboyd

          Lindholm brings defensive conscious to the top line. The top line is part and parcel of the Flames Fantastic Five – do not split them up. One of the top 3 Number ones in the NHL.

  • #27Train.

    Glad to see ON finally sending fans here doing the same thing here as The GreatWW is doing there, sending one troll and imposter to ON dissing their team, city and fans..As a Flames fan myself, I and many others here dispise this nonsense and are asking TheGreatWhite to be banned!! Thank you to all the great and loyal fans here at FN.

  • Skylardog

    Back home after an interesting get away.
    Airline lost our luggage on the way down. Missing for almost 3 days.
    On the way home a 5:40 minute flight turned into over 7 hours. Waited in line to take off from the south runway starting from the west. We were 7th in line. We were 4th in line when a storm came up quickly and they had reset the takeoff point to the North runway from the east side. It was a 20 minute commute. To be honest I was grateful we were not the last plane that went up before they switched directions. They held it on the runway for about 5 minutes before it went. Taking off in a gale heading down wind had to be a scary moment.

    I was not involved in the fight on board midway through the flight. It was a quick shot that ended it, an over the seat left.

    Needless to say, we were met at the gate by paramedics and police. Sat for close to 15 minutes while they escorted the wounded and arrested off the plane.

    Glad to be home. Need some hockey. Haven’t seen a game since Detroit on the 18th.