Jared Bednar has his Colorado Avalanche team firing at all cylinders to start the 2023-24 National Hockey League season.
As of Dec. 1, the Avalanche has the fifth-best record in the NHL at 15-6-1 with the second-most goals scored (82) and the 11th-fewest goals against (63) in the league.
Colorado’s power play is the 12th-best in the league at 21.4 percent while its penalty kill sits fifth in the NHL at 87.2 percent.
Suffice to say, the Avalanche are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league while being dominant in all areas of the ice.
And Bednar is pushing the right buttons to do so.
Colorado sportsbooks favor Bednar as the sixth-most likely candidate to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year for a reason.
For one, he has had to rally his troops without captain Gabriel Landeskog in the lineup in order to put on this dominant display in the first place.
The Avalanche have not had Landeskog in the lineup since Bednar led the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2021/22.
They have been missing his reliable goal-scoring ability and his big bruising strength on the front end.
Still, the Avalanche manage to be one of the best teams in the league highlighted by star players, great supporting pieces and a great system that is proven to win hockey games both in the regular season and the playoffs.
Colorado has also been playing without reliable defenseman Samuel Girard, who entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Even then, they still have been one of the best defensive teams in the league in his absence.
They have a system which allows players to step up and play their best hockey no matter who is in or out of the lineup and its star players help elevate those who are stepping up.
Vegas agrees that Bednar has a big impact on this, pegging the Avalanche coach with +1500 odds to win the Jack Adams Award.
He is tied with Dallas coach Pete DeBoer, who has done a great job turning the Stars into a contender since taking over in 2022-23, for the sixth-best odds in the race.
Dallas, as of Dec. 1, is two points behind Colorado for the top spot in the Central Division.
The leaders in the race?
Rick Tocchet is currently favored with the Vancouver Canucks, a team that has recently experienced a significant upturn. Transitioning from missing the playoffs, they’ve now secured a Top 2 spot in the Pacific Division, with their key players performing exceptionally well.
The question remains whether this newfound success is sustainable. On the other hand, Bruce Cassidy’s Vegas Golden Knights continue to dominate early in the season, maintaining a solid pace alongside the Boston Bruins. However, coaches leading teams with high preseason expectations, especially those who won the Cup the previous year, typically receive less recognition from Jack Adams voters.
Derek Lalonde of the Detroit Red Wings occupies the third spot, but Detroit’s initial hot streak has cooled off, allowing the Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs to surpass them in the Atlantic Division playoff race.
If the Avalanche continue to play the way they have been, Bednar may be able to jump ahead of those names in the Jack Adams conversation.