Jon Cooper | Tampa Bay Lightning
Record: 56-13-4, Points: 116
The Tampa Bay Lightning are on pace to record the best regular season points total in an 82 game season. With 116 points in 73 games, they’re on pace for a 130 point season. (Note: the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens had 132 points, but that was an 80 game season.)
The Lightning have absolutely steamrolled the league from the drop of the puck on the 2018-19 season. Their +96 goal differential along with an incredible 1.53 points per game should make that statement obvious enough. And Jon Cooper has been at the helm for it all.
Say what you will about the embarrassment of riches at his disposal, but he’s still got to make it work. He’s still got to find a way to get a 117 point Nikita Kucherov to work with an 82 point Stamkos and for the two to work with an 87 point Brayden Point, and visa-versa.
He’s got to manage egos, keep them engaged, and keep that competitive spirit up for a full 82 game season. Talent only gets a team so far, the strategy and structure behind that team are what helps them reach that other level.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a supremely talented team. They were constructed diligently and with great care and it shows. Jon Cooper has to make that talent mesh and play to their fullest potential. He’s done that in 2018-19.
The Jack Adams Trophy is for the best coach, and what better metrics to evaluate the quality of a coach then the number of wins he accumulates in a season?