Rod Brind'Amour, Dean Evason and Joel Quenneville were named finalists for the Jack Adams Award.
The award is given annually to the coach voted the best in the NHL by members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association. The winner will be announced as part of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone on June 17.
Brind'Amour coached the Carolina Hurricanes (36-12-8) to their best-ever points percentage (.714), first in the Discover Central Division and the third-best record in the NHL. The Hurricanes were second in power-play percentage (25.6) and third in penalty-killing percentage (85.2), the only team to rank in the top three in each. They were tied with the Boston Bruins for fourth in goals-against per game (2.39), third in face-off winning percentage (53.9) and fifth in shots per game (32.0) and won a division title for the first time since 2005-06.
"He's a great coach, obviously," Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. "He's got it figured out. He knows how to push buttons, knows how to get the best out of everyone and relay good messages of how to play. And then just in general, as a person, he's a guy I look up to in all aspects of life and the way he carries himself, the way he treats people. He's just a good dude. He's a huge, if not one of the main reasons, why we are where we are as a group."
Brind'Amour won 46 games in 2018-19, his first season as coach, and guided the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth in nine seasons. He his the first coach in Hurricanes history to reach the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since the franchise relocated from Hartford in 1997.
"Anytime you have that experience, over time you're going to be a better coach," Carolina general manager Don Waddell said. "Going through that playoff run that first year he was coaching, going into the conference finals, and what we went through last year in the bubble, there's no doubt I see things he does on the bench. Preparation is probably the key there. We probably take a few more days off this time around than we maybe did. There's a lot of little things. They all add up to making Rod a better coach. Any time you go through this as a player or a coach, the experience factor is going to be very positive for you and your organization."
A first-time finalist for the award, Brind'Amour would be the first coach in Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers history to win it.
"Look at where we were when he took over and where we are now," Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. "Top to bottom in the room, on the ice, in the organization, it's a night-and-day difference. He has a huge role, if not the most important role, to play in that. He's awesome as a coach, awesome as a person. The respect he has, as players, we truly appreciate and obviously you want to go out there and play hard for a coach who respects you. He respects you as a player and a person. His care for people, people talk about that a lot, but it's true. We're extremely thankful for that."
Evason guided the Minnesota Wild (35-16-5) to their best-ever points percentage (.670) and a playoff berth in his first full season as coach, one season after taking over and going 8-4-0 to help Minnesota qualify. The Wild scored 3.21 goals per game, the most in team history, and had three winning streaks of at least five games, including a seven-game run that was part of a stretch when Minnesota earned points in 14 of 15 games (11-1-3) from April 10-May 8.
A first-time finalist, Evason would be the second Wild coach to win the award. Jacques Lemaire won it in 2002-03.
Quenneville helped the Florida Panthers (37-14-5) qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season, finishing one point behind the Hurricanes in the Central Division. The Panthers had their highest points percentage (.705) and most goals per game (3.36) in their history. Florida tied for fourth with the Washington Capitals in goals per game and were ninth in goals-against per game (2.70), after allowing 3.25 last season (tied with the New Jersey Devils for third worst in NHL). They were first in shots per game (34.9).
A three-time finalist, Quenneville won the award with the St. Louis Blues in 1999-00 and was runner-up with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13. He would be the first Panthers coach to win it after second-place finishes by Doug MacLean (1995-96) and Gerard Gallant (2015-16), and set the record for most years between wins (21), breaking the mark held by Scotty Bowman (19).
Bruce Cassidy of the Bruins won the Jack Adams Award last season.
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report