Exactly one year ago, Peter Laviolette was named head coach of the Nashville Predators. Three hundred and sixty-five days later, he’s being recognized for his success behind the Preds bench in his inaugural campaign with the club.
Laviolette has been named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, an annual honor presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association at the end of the regular season.
This is Laviolette’s second career nomination for the award, the first coming in 2005-06 when he was head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Laviolette finished as runner-up for the Jack Adams that season in the closet vote in the history of the award.
In his first season behind the bench in the Music City, Laviolette guided the Predators to a 47-25-10 record and 104 points, nine more wins and 16 more points than the team finished with a season ago. The Preds averaged 2.76 goals per game, up from 2.61 in 2013-14, and 31.9 shots per game, a total good for third in the League.
Nashville also finished with just 202 goals allowed, good for eighth in the NHL, and owned a 1.26 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio, third best in the League.
“As far as the team direction, I thought we went in the right way,” Preds forward Craig Smith said after a season of playing under Laviolette. “We feel like we attached ourselves to an identity, and I thought Peter did a great job of keeping us in line the whole year.
“[It was] a lot of fun [to play under Laviolette]…He’s a guy that can really wrap the guy’s heads around a certain way they want to play. He sure likes to go after it, and that’s how we played all year.”
After winning his first two games as the head coach of the Preds, career victories 390 and 391, Laviolette passed Hall of Famer Fred Shero for 32nd on the all-time NHL head coaching wins list. On Nov. 15 against Winnipeg, Laviolette picked up career win No. 400.
“I can tell you that after a year gone by now and having the opportunity to work with everybody, what a terrific choice [to come to Nashville],” Laviolette said last week during his season-ending press conference. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, because for me, it was a terrific year and a great opportunity to work with great people and great players.”
Laviolette, along with Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames and Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers, will make the trip to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 24, where the winner of the Jack Adams Award will be announced.