DENVER — Jared Bednar is without question one of the best coaches in the NHL.
The Colorado Avalanche missed the playoffs only once so far during his tenure, and that was his first year behind the bench. They've won the Presidents' Tophy and a Stanley Cup under his tutelage, and finished first in the Central Division despite a barrage of injuries.
And yet he was not one of three head coaches named as a finalist for the Jack Adamd Award, given annually to the one "adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success" according to the NHL Broadcasters Association.
Instead, the 2023 finalists are Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins, Dave Hakstol of the Seattle Kraken, and Lindy Ruff of the New Jersey Devils.
While all three are worthy candidates, Chris Miceli of Locked on Avalanche argues Jared Bednar belongs among these three.
"He did a masterful job and ending up winning the division with all of their injuries - that is coaching at its finest."
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The most notable and lengthiest injury was suffered by captain Gabriel Landeskog, who missed the entire season following knee surgeries that came before and after the team's run to a Stanley Cup championship in 2022.
Superstar Nathan MacKinnon missed 11 games, Norris and Conn Smythe defenseman Cala Makar missed 22, and Artturi Lehknonen, Valeri Nichushkin, Bowen Byram, and Josh Manson all missed significant time.
And all this after losing Nazem Kadri in free agency to the Calgary Flames.
Locked on Avalanche co-host Kyle Sullivan further argues the Jack Adams trophy is too often a case of "hey would you look at that interesting story" as opposed to who actually performs the best at their job.
While it's likely Montgomery's award to lose after guiding the Bruins to a record-setting regular season, Bednar deserves more credit for winning the division with a team that wasn't quite up to par as compared to least season.
Keep in mind, this is a regular season award, and losing in the first round isn't taken into consideration.
The full results will be revealed when the award announcement is made, and Bednar should at least be top five in voting.