Where Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau ranks among Jack Adams candidates

Mar 17 2022, 8:35 pm

If the Jack Adams was awarded based on how many times a coach’s name was shouted by fans, Bruce Boudreau would easily have this locked up.

In all seriousness though, the Vancouver Canucks bench boss has a shot at winning Coach of the Year.

Boudreau has dragged the Canucks out from the depths of the Western Conference standings, giving this team a chance to make an improbable run to the playoffs with one-quarter of the season left to play.

The 67-year-old bench boss has become something of a fix-it specialist during his other three NHL stops with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, and Minnesota Wild.

That was especially true with the Capitals, where he won the Jack Adams Award after leading Washington to the playoffs on the back of a 37-17-4 record.

The Capitals started the season 6-14-1 under previous coach Glen Hanlon.

Boudreau has written a similar story thus far in Vancouver. After the Canucks started the season 8-15-2 under Travis Green, they’ve been much improved under Boudreau, posting a 22-9-5 record.

That’s the seventh-best record in the league since December 5.

In-season hires rarely get Jack Adams appreciation

There are a number of cases where new coaches hired in-season can make an impact immediately.

However, those coaches don’t often get much love for the Jack Adams.

In fact, history tells us that coaches hired in-season have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup than they do the Jack Adams.

Over the past 30 years, here is the list of coaches hired in-season that went on to lead their team to a Stanley Cup.

  • 2018-19: Craig Berube, (St. Louis Blues)
  • 2015-16: Mike Sullivan, (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  • 2011-12: Darryl Sutter, (Los Angeles Kings)
  • 2008-09: Dan Bylsma, (Penguins)
  • 1999-00: Larry Robinson, (New Jersey Devils)

And, here’s the list of coaches hired in-season over the past 30 years who have earned a Jack Adams nomination.

  • 2018-19: Craig Berube, Blues (Finished third)
  • 2011-12: Ken Hitchcock, Blues (won Jack Adams)
  • 2007-08: Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals (won Jack Adams)

Looking at Boudreau’s Jack Adams competition

As of Friday, March 11, here are the odds for Jack Adams candidates, courtesy of Bet MGM.

  • Darryl Sutter (Calgary Flames): +200
  • Gerard Gallant (New York Rangers) +300
  • Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina Hurricanes) +300
  • Andrew Brunette (Florida Panthers) +300
  • Jared Bednar (Colorado Avalanche) +650
  • Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning) +900
  • Mike Sullivan (Penguins) +2000
  • Todd McLellan (Kings) +2000
  • John Hynes (Nashville Predators) +2200
  • Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins) +2500
  • Sheldon Keefe (Toronto Maple Leafs) +3500
  • Craig Berube (Blues) +3500
  • Dean Evason (Minnesota Wild) +5000
  • Peter DeBoer (Vegas Golden Knights) +6600

Boudreau’s odds currently sit at +7500.

Although the Canucks bench boss clearly isn’t a favourite right now, you can pinpoint a few people who he might pass if the Canucks continue their recent run of play.

Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe has seen his team’s stock plummet, thanks for horrendous goaltending. Peter Deboer is also seeing his stock slide as the Vegas Golden Knights tumbled from the top of the Pacific Division.

Berube and the Blues have been on a great run, but their expected goals-for of 47.9% is way below their actual goals-for total of 55.9%. That suggests their run has been extremely reliant on luck.

Speaking of luck, New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant is considered a Jack Adams finalist in terms of betting odds. That conveniently ignores the fact that his team’s underlying numbers are below average, and that his goalie, Igor Shesterkin, is a big reason why they’re in the playoff picture.

It will take some work for Boudreau to climb this list. That being said, based on his inaugural season with the Capitals, he’s already proven that it can be done.

What else Boudreau needs to do

It’s no secret that the Canucks need to make the playoffs if Boudreau is going to seriously enter the Jack Adams conversation.

So, what’s that going to take?

Hitting 90 points is probably the absolute minimum needed if the Canucks are going to make the playoffs. That would require them taking 23 of a possible 42 points remaining, or posting a record along the lines of 10-8-3.

What’s more likely is that the Canucks will need to push 95 points. In that case, they’d need 28 of a possible 42 points, or a record like 13-6-2.

That would give the Canucks a .670 winning percentage over their final 21 games.

Under Boudreau, they’ve already played at a .681 pace.

Although this roster is flawed, Boudreau has clearly provided a boost in a number of areas.

J.T. Miller looks like an absolute star at centre. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser have also improved their play. Special teams are still a work in progress, but they have improved. The Canucks power play ranks eighth overall (24.5%) while the penalty kill is 20th (76.9%) Boudreau at the helm.

Against all odds, the Canucks are in the playoff race, and that’s in large part because of their new bench boss.

Trevor BeggsTrevor Beggs

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