LA Kings: Todd McLellan can win the Jack Adams Award

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

NHL Network predicted candidates for each award in the 2021 season, with LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan pegged for the Jack Adams Award.

After a lengthy delay, the LA Kings will open their doors to the 2021 training camp on Thursday. Since mid-March, the organization has not played a meaningful game, but they did win their final seven games. After the Kings finished trading veteran players away for draft capital and prospects in return, some new faces saw regular playing time.

Head coach Todd McLellan returns for his second full season after leading the team to a disappointing 64 points in the COVID-19 shortened season. Of course, with a new coach comes a new system, but all cylinders were firing at the end of the year. That winning streak has provided some optimism for the LA Kings to climb out of the Pacific Division basement and return to playoff contention.

They’ll have to do so in a hybrid West Division, with the pandemic exiling the three Canadian teams north of the border for the 2021 season. Instead, the LA Kings will play the Wild, Blues, and Avalance eight times this year. The Golden Knights, Blues, and Avalanche appear to favorites for a playoff spot, with the top four teams in each division advancing into the postseason.

However, that fourth spot is up for grabs. Should Todd McLellan lead his group back to the playoffs for the first time since the 17-18 season — with their last playoff win coming in 15-16 — the LA Kings head coach could find himself in the conversation for the Jack Adams Award. The NHL has handed out this award since the 1974 season for the league’s best coach.

NHL Network Sirius XM recently identified McLellan as a guy who could win the award.

"“I’ll throw a few names out there of teams we don’t really consider legit playoff contenders but make could bump up in the standings, could have that surprising season that we look at when handing out this award.”“I’ll throw Todd McLellan out there of the Los Angeles Kings as well. I could see this team being a surprise team this year, maybe making the playoffs or making a bit of a push.”"

According to SportsBettingDime, Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders leads the early betting odds for Coach of the Year, which is understandable, given how far the Islanders advanced in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bob Pulford is the only LA Kings head coach who has won the Jack Adams Award, and that came back in the 1974-1975 season.

McLellan is a longshot to win the award. Is it possible? Anything is possible. Is it probable? The LA Kings would have to sneak into the playoffs and likely win a series for McLellan to be in consideration. As noted, training camp officially begins on Thursday, December 31, and the LA Kings will be looking to regain that momentum that carried them to the end of the 19-20 season.