Andrew Brunette a Jack Adams Award Finalist in 1st Year with Nashville Predators

The Preds have never had a Head Coach win the Jack Adams Award, and Brunette is just the third to be a finalist.
Feb 27, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators head coach Andrew Brunette talks with
Feb 27, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators head coach Andrew Brunette talks with / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to believe in all those years that Barry Trotz led the Nashville Predators to the playoffs with minimal superstar talent that he never won the Jack Adams Award, and now his first head coaching hire Andrew Brunette is a finalist for 2024.

Brunette becomes just the third head coach in the Predators' 25-year history to be a finalist, and Brunette joins Rick Tocchet of the Vancouver Canucks and Rick Bowness of the Winnipeg Jets as the top-three.

Peter Laviolette was also a Jack Adams Award finalist in his first year coaching the Predators. That team finished with 104 points but lost in the first round. Trotz was a finalist for the Predators in 2010 with the team having 100 points and also losing in the first round.

Trotz is a two-time Jack Adams winner from 2019 with the New York Islanders and 2016 with the Washington Capitals.

Brunette has Predators outperforming what anyone realistically expected in Year 1

Brunette has been a rising star among head coaching circles for a few years now before Trotz brought him in as Nashville's fourth head coach in franchise history, replacing John Hynes.

No offense to Bowness who did a tremendous job getting the Jets back to the playoffs and nearly a Central Division title, but this is a two person race between Brunette and Tocchet. Two head coaches who brought their respective teams to the playoffs with preseason expectations being pretty low for both.

Just as a refresher of some prominent preseason predictions regarding the Predators and Canucks, The Hockey News ranked the Predators 23rd in the power rankings and the Canucks 21st.

In's preseason predictions, only a very few predicted either the Predators or Canucks to make the playoffs, and the one's that did mostly had them picked as wildcard teams. And to be fair, no one had any faith in the Jets, either. In fact, a lot of Central Division picks were for the Minnesota Wild or Arizona Coyotes.

So all three finalists took their teams to the playoffs without having high expectations going in. The question for the voters is, who did more with less?

It's important to remember that this isn't a perfect science and it's impossible to make everyone happy. There is obviously a lot of bias, whether intended or not, from the fans.

It will be hard for Brunette to get it over Tocchet. The Canucks finished higher in the standings than the Predators and swept the head-to-head series 3-0. The Canucks have an equally surprising campaign that no one saw coming.

What Brunette has going for him is seeing so many depth players having career years in just his first year behind the bench in Nashville. That is certainly something you can't overlook with Brunette's leadership. Just look at the transformation from guys like Kiefer Sherwood, Jeremy Lauzon, Michael McCarron and Cole Smith.

Then you see the career years from the veterans like Filip Forsberg, Gus Nyquist and Roman Josi. They have all directly benefited from Brunette's system, and this team is performing way ahead of schedule to what anyone could've realistically predicted.

Finally, it will be hard for voters to forget the U2 story and how Brunette cancelled the concert and the team responded with an 18-game point streak. The season could've been derailed right there, missed the playoffs and Brunette is definitely not even in this conversation.

I expect Tocchet to ultimately win the award, but Brunette should get plenty of first place votes as well.