Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets were named Wednesday as finalists for the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the top coach in the NHL.
The winner will be announced at the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on June 21 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).
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Babcock, 53, led the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013. They were fourth in the Atlantic Division with 95 points, a 26-point improvement from 2015-16, his first season. Babcock also played six rookies more than 75 games each, including Auston Matthews, 19, the first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft. The Maple Leafs went 40-27-15, their most wins since they had 40 in 2006-07. Babcock was a Jack Adams Award finalist in 2008 and 2014 with the Detroit Red Wings.
McLellan, 49, coached the Oilers to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They were second in the Pacific Division with 103 points, 33 more than they had in 2015-16, his first season with the Oilers. They went 47-26-9, their most wins since they had 50 in 1986-87. McLellan was a finalist for the award in 2009 with the San Jose Sharks.
Tortorella, 58, led the Blue Jackets to their best season since entering the NHL in 2000. The Blue Jackets set team club records for wins (50) and points (108), finished third in the Metropolitan Division and reached the playoffs for the third time. The Blue Jackets also had a 16-game winning streak, one away from tying the NHL record of 17 set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins. Tortorella won the Jack Adams in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and was a finalist in 2003 with the Lightning and 2012 with the New York Rangers.
Video: Babcock, McLellan, Tortorella up for Jack Adams Award