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Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch snubbed for Jack Adams Trophy

Edmonton Oilers Kris Knoblauch
Photo credit:James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 day ago
The NHL has announced the finalists for the Jack Adams Trophy, and one notable omission is Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch.
Knoblauch took over behind the Oilers bench on November 12th, replacing Jay Woodcroft as the club sputtered to a 3-9-1 start to the season. While the early days were rocky with Knoblauch’s Oilers going 2-3 in his first five games behind the bench, it didn’t take long for that to change.
Over the next 27 games, the Oilers racked up a staggering 24 wins, including an eight-game winning streak, a three-game losing streak, and a franchise-record 16-game winning streak. And while the remainder of the regular season was a bit rockier than they would’ve likely hoped to go 20-12-5, the turnaround in Edmonton’s season was massive.
In fact, between the day he was hired and the end of the regular season, the Oilers’ 46-18-5 record was the best in the NHL. Their .703 points percentage was well above the next closest teams: the Hurricanes (.694), the Jets (.691), the Stars (.676), and the Panthers (.669). The Oilers had the second-best goal share at 5v5, controlling 58.36 percent and outscoring the opposition 171-122, while also controlling the second-best expected goal share, at 56.94 percent. Edmonton’s goal share number trailed only the Jets’ 60 percent, while the expected goal share number trailed just the Hurricanes at 57.17 percent.
One thing the early-season Oilers struggled with before Knoblauch entered the mix was giving up offensive goals to opposing teams off the rush. Edmonton had no answer for that, nor did they for giving up high-danger goals against. Both of those areas improved massively, and by season’s end, the Oilers controlled the highest number of high-danger goals (62.07 percent) and high-danger scoring chances (58.61 percent).
The three finalists for the Jack Adams this year are the Vancouver Canucks’ Rick Tocchet, the Nashville Predators’ Andrew Brunette, and the Winnipeg Jets’ Rick Bowness.
The Canucks had a great regular season in his first behind their bench, with them going 50-23-9. They came out hot to start the year, and while there were some struggles later in the season, they’ve looked solid so far in their first-round series against the Preds.
Brunette, meanwhile, helped lift the Predators to the playoffs with an impressive late-season push. Between February 17th and March 26th, they put together an 18-game point streak, going 16-0-2 over that stretch. In it, they outscored the opposition 74-33, scoring the most goals per game (4.11) while allowing the fewest (1.83).
In Bowness’ case, the Jets were one of the best teams in the regular season this year, going 52-24-6, the second-highest point total in franchise history. They tied franchise records in wins and road wins (25) while allowing the fewest goals in the league, with 199. They, too, had a franchise record 14-game point streak, going 12-0-2 between December 30th and January 11th.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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