Throughout his coaching career in the NHL, Alain Vigneault has been the head coach for four different teams. He isn’t a stranger to greatness. This 2019-2020 season with the Philadelphia Flyers isn’t an anomaly by any stretch. One thing is constant with Vigneault: quality. His quality in coaching reflects the quality of the relationship he has with his players and the development of quality players on his teams.
An elite coach in the NHL has to be in touch with his players and understand what players will succeed in his system. The Philadelphia Flyers are the fourth team of four that would have made the playoffs. With that kind of track record, the correlation is with the coach. During his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens, Alain Vigneault was nominated for the Jack Adams Award. That award honors the NHL coach who has contributed the most towards his team’s success.
Alain Vigneault’s ideology that “talent doesn’t have an age” stems from his versatility to leave the NHL and coach and evaluate talent in the AHL after his time with the Montreal Canadiens. As the coach of the Manitoba Moose, the Vancouver Canucks affiliate, the Moose exceeded a hundred points in a season. It’s no surprise that Vigneault was the clear decision to coach the Canucks. Vigneault’s first season with Vancouver resulted in a franchise-record amount of wins. With the Canucks, Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award in 2007.
With the Vancouver Canucks, Alain Vigneault was nominated multiple times for the Jack Adams Award, winning it once. The Canucks remained a playoff team by the time Vigneault departed to the New York Rangers. Vigneault and John Tortorella exchanged jobs as Tortorella was hired as Vigneault’s replacement in Vancouver. During Vigneault’s first year as the head coach of the Rangers, New York made a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. He was never nominated for the Jack Adams Award with the Rangers, but I believe he should have been.
It’s incredible the gifts that the Philadelphia Flyers received when Alain Vigneault found his way to Philadelphia. During his time with the New York Rangers, Vigneault knew what he had with Kevin Hayes. His relationship and understanding about how to utilize Hayes turned out to be huge with the Flyers. More importantly, Vigneault never lost sight of how younger players can provide a breath of fresh air on an NHL roster. The utilization of AHL talent under Vigneault with Philadelphia has been nothing short of excellent.
Just one season ago, the Philadelphia Flyers finished sixth in the NHL Metropolitan Division under coach Dave Hakstol. One year later, the Flyers were in second place by the time NHL suspended play. Philadelphia could have surpassed the Washington Capitals for first place in the NHL Metropolitan Division, had the season not been put on hold. Alain Vigneault should be credited heavily with the resurrection of the Flyers in 2019-2020. While this may surprise some people, this is just the usual Vigneault.
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