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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our choices for the Jack Adams.
I picked Mike Sullivan a few months back and my choice still holds up.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were in contention for the division title – in a competitive division at that – despite an abundance of injuries to key players. From Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to Jake Guentzel and Brian Dumoulin, among *many* others, there were no shortage of quality players sidelined for extended periods of time. It didn’t matter. The Penguins still piled up the wins, and they still posted some of the best 5v5 numbers in the league.
While I am still confident in my selection, Alain Vigneault certainly did enough to give Sullivan a real run for his money. Vigneault had a Philadelphia Flyers team many expected to be on the playoff bubble within one point of top spot in the Metro. When a team exceeds expectations to that extent there is generally elite goaltending propping them up. That’s not the case here as the Flyers ranked 16th in team save percentage prior to the (potentially never-ending) pause of the 2019-20 season. They were high in the standings because they were a good team; not because they rode unsustainably high percentages.
The Jack Adams 100% shouldn't go to a guy like Paul Maurice who needs to thank Hellebuyck for playing lights out but history has shown us that is exactly what the media voters love to eat up.
I'm going to go with Tortorella who does have a unique story that makes him another worthy candidate. The Blue Jackets lost two of their best players in the off season in Bobrovsky and Duchene. On top of that, this season the Blue Jackets have had a near historic level of man games lost, with many of them being from their elite players.
Despite all of that, the Blue Jackets have managed to still put together a decent season and prior to the suspension were battling for a playoff spot. If the Blue Jackets did end up making the post season despite all of these struggles, I think Torts should have been the clearcut favourite.
Sheldon Keefe took over for the Leafs November 21st, and they went on to finish three wins back of Boston and Tampa, despite getting some of the worst goaltending in the NHL, and playing 20% of their games without their 2 top defenseman. The Leafs got way better defensively under Keefe, and with a normal amount of injuries and league-average goaltending, they would have been the NHL's best team.
Sheldon Keefe is coach of the year. The Leafs were 12th overall under Keefe, a very impressive record, considering the goaltending and injuries.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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