Dean Evason's leadership behind the Wild's bench during an upstart season didn't go unnoticed.
Evason is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award that recognizes the coach who has contributed the most to his team's success.
Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour and Florida's Joel Quenneville are the other finalists after a vote by members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association. The winner will be revealed either later this month or in July when the Stanley Cup playoffs conclude.
Brind'Amour led the Hurricanes to their first division title since 2006 and third overall in the NHL, and Carolina was the only team to rank top-three on the power play and penalty kill. Quenneville's Panthers had a franchise-high goals-per-game clip and rose to second in the Central Division behind the Hurricanes despite losing captain Aaron Ekblad to a season-ending injury.
The Wild is now up for four NHL awards, the most nominations the team has received in a season. Evason joins Kirill Kaprizov (Calder Trophy for rookie of the year), Jared Spurgeon (Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship) and Matt Dumba (Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey) in contention for end-of-season hardware.
After a roster makeover could have positioned the Wild for a down year, Evason guided the team to its best regular-season points percentage in franchise history at .670 from a 35-16-5 record during a shortened, 56-game schedule.
This was also the highest-scoring team the Wild has ever had, with a 3.21 goals-per-game average, and the Wild never had a losing streak in the regular season longer than two games for the first time in team history. The Wild went 11-1-3 from April into May, a run that included a season-high seven-game win streak in which the Wild clinched a postseason berth for the eighth time in nine seasons.
Overall, the Wild finished third in the West Division, behind Colorado and Vegas — the top two teams in the NHL — in Evason's first full season at the helm. The 56-year-old was promoted from assistant on an interim basis in February 2020 when the team fired Bruce Boudreau. Evason later signed a two-year contract extension in July 2020 ahead of the bubble playoffs to become the Wild's fifth head coach.
Jacques Lemaire is the only other Jack Adams Award finalist the Wild has ever had. He won in 2003.