Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter is the favourite to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.
You can bet on it.
Sutter is the odds-on favourite to capture the award for the first time in his coaching career after a masterful effort to guide the Flames into top spot in the Pacific Division through the opening 50 games of the season.
It has major gambling sites touting Sutter as the best bet to win the nod, given to the skipper “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”
Bet365, for example, has Sutter at +275 to win the award. Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers is next at +650, and both Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Gerard Gallant of the New York Rangers are at +750.
Bodog has Sutter as a +200 favourite, with Brunette (+500), Sullivan (+600), and Gallant (+700) as other top candidates.
Sports Interaction gives bettors looking to put some cash down on Calgary’s bench boss the best odds at +330. Gallant comes in at +514 and Brunette at +615. Jared Bednar, coach of the Western Conference-leading Colorado Avalanche, is at +751.
Calgary, whose 10-game winning streak ended with an ugly 7-1 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, remains four points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for top spot in the Pacific Division with a game in hand.
It’s well, well ahead of last season’s pace.
Calgary netted 55 points in 56 games a season ago, which saw Sutter replace Geoff Ward behind the bench midway through the year. The Flames, of course, ended up on the outside looking into the playoff picture, finishing four points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth spot into postseason play in the makeshift North Division comprised only of Canadian teams.
Sutter, whose brother Brian won it with the St. Louis Blues after the 1990-91 season, has already helped bank 66 points for his squad through just 50 games this year.
His contributions aren’t just measured in team success, either. At least a half-dozen players are off to career years.
Johnny Gaudreau, who is on pace to topple 100 points for the first time in his career, is garnering Hart Trophy consideration as the league’s most valuable player. Elias Lindholm, Gaudreau’s centre, is starting to generate attention for the Selke Trophy as the forward “who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” Goaltender Jacob Markstrom paces the NHL with eight shutouts, and will get a bit of buzz to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, too.
In the end, though, it’ll be all about wins for Sutter.
And his team has done that.
If given a full schedule last year, the Flames played to a pace of 81 points. They’re projected at 108 points based on their current pace — a 27-point improvement.
Sutter’s played the most vital role in that, no doubt.
You can bet on it.