Jared Bednar (Colorado Avalanche), Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins) and Gerard Gallant (Vegas Golden Knights) were named finalists for the Jack Adams Award on Wednesday, given annually to the coach voted best in the NHL.
The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 20.
Video: NHL Now breaks down the Jack Adams Award finalists
Bednar coached the Avalanche to one of the best single-season turnarounds in NHL history. Colorado (43-30-9) earned 95 points, a 47-point increase from when they finished last in the standings in 2016-17, and clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth for the first time since 2013-14. The Avalanche won 28 games at home, tying their record set in 2000-01. Bednar is a first-time finalist who could become the third coach in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to win the award (Patrick Roy, 2013-14; Marc Crawford, 1994-95).
Cassidy coached the Bruins (50-20-12, 112 points) to a fourth-place finish in the NHL standings and their fourth-highest point total in 40 years. Boston was 22-12-7 on the road, third in the League behind the Nashville Predators (25-9-7) and Tampa Bay Lightning (25-13-3), and its 13-game road point streak (11-0-2) from Dec. 13-Feb. 11 was the fifth-longest in its history. Cassidy is a first-time finalist vying to become the fourth Bruins coach to win the award, following Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98) and Claude Julien (2008-09).
Gallant coached the Golden Knights to an historic season for a first-year team. Vegas (51-24-7, 109 points) was the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to start from scratch and win its division. Eleven Golden Knights players had NHL career highs in points, including forward William Karlsson, who had 78 points (43 goals, 35 assists) after getting 25 (six points, 19 assists) with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. Gallant is a Jack Adams Award finalist for the second time; he was runner-up to Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) when coaching the Florida Panthers in 2015-16.