After a successful regular season of exceeding preseason predictions from many, Nashville Predators Head Coach John Hynes got some recognition from at least a few voters in the Jack Adams Award voting.
The Jack Adams Award is given annually since the 1973-74 season “to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”
Darryl Sutter, Head Coach of the Calgary Flames, took home the honors of the best coach in the NHL, and deservedly so. What a year for the Flames despite falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hynes received a handful of votes to finish ninth in the voting results with a wide gap between 8th place and the top-seven, per Chris Johnston of TSN:
Hynes got more than many expected out of the Nashville Predators
There’s no doubt that Hynes brought this team together to vastly outperform what many expected from this team sitting in this moment one year ago. Many preseason predictions had the Predators finishing only ahead of the Arizona Coyotes in the Central Division.
When you look at the other head coaches in the top-ten of voting results, some of them quite simply have way more talent to work with than Hynes does. Most notably Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers, Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche, and Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning suprisingly finished with fewer votes, but I actually agree considering the rosters side-by-side to work with.
So in this regard, Hynes did more with less and does deserve a lot of kudos for that. Forget about what you think about him being the long-term answer as head coach of the Nashville Predators, but what he did behind the bench for this season alone was pretty special despite the first round sweep.
This all goes into the line of thinking from the front office and General Manager David Poile that the team has to give Hynes more to work with on this roster to compete against teams like the Avalanche in the postseason. That does fall more on the front office than it does Hynes.
Additionally, the career years from Roman Josi, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, Tanner Jeannot, Ryan Johansen and even Mikael Granlund shouldn’t be overlooked. Now it’s about the front office doing their job to upgrade this team even more this offseason. Hynes can offer his input, and I’m sure he does, but it ultimately falls on Poile and company to come through for their head coach.
More blame is owed to the front office than to Hynes
Poile gave the utmost confidence and praise to Hynes in th end of season press conference a couple weeks ago, but only enough for a modest two-year extension. So Hynes is still very much in a “prove it” scenario.
Hynes has definitely enjoyed much more regular season success with the Nashville Predators than he did with the New Jersey Devils. He has a regular season point percentage of .584 in three seasons with Nashville, compared to a very mediocre .487 point percentage in five seasons with New Jersey.
It’s the playoff failures with Hynes at the helm with both clubs that has most people as non-believers in him. A postseason record of 4-15, including the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in 2020.
I do put way more blame on the front office than I do Hynes for recent failures from this franchise, and Hynes did show me a lot in his first normal season as head coach of the Nashville Predators. A two-year extension is fair after what he has had to deal with that he has little to no control over.
Hynes finishing ninth in the voting for the Jack Adams Award is spot on, but I would’ve actually thought he would be a little higher just due to taking a projected seventh place team to the playoffs. Not his fault he ran into an Avalanche team that was just world’s apart better on paper, and showed it.
Even after all of those years of exemplirary coaching from Barry Trotz, and a couple from Peter Laviolette, the Nashville Predators have never had a Jack Adams Award winner.
Hynes, fair or not, will quickly be on the hot seat again next season if the Predators stumble out of the gate. Actually, he already is here in June after finishing top-ten for coach of the year. This fanbase is ruthless sometimes.