NHL Coaching Hot Seat: Which Of These 14 Coaches Should You Worry? Who is safe?

If you’re an empathy enthusiast, congratulations – 2022-23 NHL The season was fruitful. You haven’t yet had to watch a head coach lose his job.

There is reason to believe that will continue for the first time since 2017-18, the last regular season that came and went without firing in the middle of the season. In 2021-22, we’ve seen seven mid-season and five by this date. In the 56-game 2021 season, the total number is three. In 2019-20, eight seasons and six by this date. In 2018-19, seven and five.

So no, it’s not without precedent – but it’s still weird. Chalk it up to a few different things; First of all, the new coaches are getting longer runways, and we’ve got plenty of them. Some franchises are less apt, even as revenue continues to rise, to cut checks on multiple coaches. Some are underachievers but they have the right man in the right place. Others work from the growing shadow of Conor Bedard juuuust okay with stacking Ls. A handful of teams are really good.

Whatever the reason for the lack of action, it’s interesting to watch. Will you survive though? If it doesn’t happen — if we see another couple of changes in February, as we did last year — the names will come off this list.


Don’t bother bringing it up

Mike Sullivan, penguins. This is not to say that things are going well in Pittsburgh either. Before winning in Arizona, the Penguins had two of their last possible 12 points. The bottom six is ​​bad, and the defense has it Brian Dumoulin Problem is, the menu is outdated and the cover space is basically non-existent. However, Sullivan isn’t going anywhere – nor should it be. Fenway Sports Group, the team’s new ownership group, considers him an asset, and he’s signed through 2027. In other words, the more reactionary factions of the Penguins’ fan base should find better ways to spend their time.

Craig Berube, Blues. His situation — with a Stanley Cup on his resume and a playoff push/flawed slate/a streaky season in hand — is not unlike Sullivan’s. At points this season (during any of the Blues’ major lulls, for example) it would be fair to look on the outside and wonder. For now, though, players interact with Berube and stay afloat without him Ryan O’ReillyAnd Vladimir Tarasenko And Tore Krugthe last road get wins TorontoNJ and Minnesota.

Back from the brink

Dave Huxtol A legendary sea monster. It’s amazing what some have added to the top of the squad (Andrzej Burakovsky, Matty Benears) and jurisdiction intermittently in directing the target (Martin Jones Going 4-0-0 and a . 921 save percentage in January) can do. Haxtol has been on top of every preseason “first coach fired” board, including the athlete‘s. The second year in Seattle was an undeniable step forward, with the Kraken holding onto third place in the Pacific Division with games in hand for both. Edmonton And Calgary. Now, if their actual goals percentage of 59.4 (second in the NHL) falls a little closer to what was expected (51.47), the rank could get interesting – but Hakstol is safe.

dj smith, Senators. For an extended period in November, Smith appeared to be in trouble. Since American Thanksgiving, even though the Suns have gone 12-6-2, outscored opponents in all situations 62-56, and a recent 8-4 train wreck against Seattle aside, they’ve gone up in 5-play for a 5 (51.28 ratio). expected goals), 15 in the league). Brady TkachukAnd Tim StozelAnd Drake Patterson And Alex DeBrinkat All of them are at or near some point in every game, with Stützle particularly emerging lately. They picked up a few points from fourth place in the Atlantic Division. What more can anyone realistically expect? Pierre Dorion has put his weight behind Smith on multiple occasions. money – if Artem ZubExtension of 18.4 million is no indication – not a problem. Smith definitely seems like the guy.

Gerard Gallant notice. After Ottawa began righting the ship, speculation that he was “first” centered on Gallant. On December 4, the Rangers were 11-10-5, fifth in the Capital Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference. Since then, they have taken 24 of 30 points and firmly dominated the first spot of the deck. Of course, moving to the metro also plays an important role, especially if it is Igor Shesterkin He tosses out another 927 months, as he did in December. Now, are things perfect in the garden? No. Gallant takes some measure of the blame for his persistence Alexis Lafreniere Chaos, and his lineup decisions can be confusing, but playoff teams don’t change coaches in the middle of a broadcast… Despite James Dolan’s presence, anything is possible.

Peter Laviolette, capitals. On December 3, the Caps went 6-9-4 in their previous 19 games. Given Laviolette’s lack of contract after this season, and the general feeling that Washington is trying to make the best of him Alex OvechkinThe remaining years, it was fair to wonder. Now, though, the Caps are back in playoff status, Tom Wilson And Niklas Backstrom They return to the lineup and team Laviolette to roll 13-2-2.

Safe jobs, bad teams

Andre Turenne, Coyote. Like bad coyotes, they need to be worse. in balance, Karel Vemelka It is the main reason for this, but it has been showing signs of wear since the beginning of December. In his last 15 games, while facing an average of 33 shots per game, Vejmelka went 5-8-2 with a save percentage of 0.889. In his last four games, Vejmelka is at . 857 and 0-4-0. All of this puts Arizona in 29th place in the league… and falling behind. They’re not out of the Conor Bedard sweepstakes yet. Regardless, there is no reason for them to move on from Tourigny midseason. His record of success with young players should give him another chance at work, and he’s also missed his share of matches. If you’re in the Coyotes’ front office, what’s not to like about it?

Luke Richardson, Blackhawks. It would be a miscarriage of justice to move on from Richardson now or in the off season. Chicago’s list is almost too bad. This was true in October, and it is true now. The fact that anyone on the list wants to come to work every day is a testament to the trainer.

John Tortorella Flyers. There is no point in spending a lot of time on this. Financially, it wouldn’t make sense — Philly ownership has already paid Alain Vigneault over the next season. It makes no practical sense either. The fanbase loves him, which might be reason enough – really, what else do you like about the organization in its current form? It also, for better or worse, stopped the wheels from going off; The Flyers have been 6-4-0 in the last 10. Comcast Spectacor has major problems, and Tortorella isn’t one of them.

Brad Larsen, blue jackets. One look at Columbus’ injury list this season should take Larsen into consideration. Now, were the results shocking? yes. Should Columbus be OK with kicks in a peak year Johnny Goudreau? No. We’ll see if Larsen fits the bill for the Blue Jackets going forward, but this season, more than anything else, he’s been a victim of unrealistic expectations and horrible injury luck. It doesn’t make sense to punish him in the middle of the season, especially since the Blue Jackets continue to up their odds in Bedard. They started Monday with the second-worst fielding percentage in the league.

If it is not the first year …

Paul Morris, leopards. Their decline has been equal parts disappointing and predictable. Florida’s five-on-five numbers are good, and Matthew Tkachuk It was great, but this season it feels like a series of square pegs forced into round holes. You cannot play postseason hockey if you miss the postseason. It’s still early enough, though, to move forward — even after one full season — would cost the Panthers nearly $8 million. Maurice will remain in the name of patience.

Check back later

John Haynes, Predators. this is interesting. The Predators started Monday with three points off the wild card but a better percentage point than the Oilers, who are already in second place. This is the good news. David Boyle has, over the past few years, shown an aversion to meaningfully rebuilding and changing his roster. Everything about their roster screams “win now” – from their top eight scorers, Philip Forsberg He is the youngest. He is 28 years old. This brings us to the bad news. Joining this group is Nashville, which has won three of its 14 playoff games under Haynes. The question is whether Poile thinks he’s got the right guy for the stretch run, or whether he realizes there aren’t many buttons left to push. Hynes’ team, in all positions this season, is 22nd in actual goals percentage and 25th in expected goals.

Danger area

Dallas Eakins, ducks. If nothing else, Eakins remains a fine quote.

Key strikes against Eakins have not changed. He’s in the final year of his deal, and his current boss — Pat Verbeek — isn’t the one to hire him, and results are poor. Anaheim is 89-125-36 under Eakins overall and 12-25-4 this season. They somehow only won four games in regulation. They are 32 goals per game, 31 goals against per game, 32 in actual goals ratio and 32 in expected goals ratio. It’s fair to wonder what kind of long-term impact this kind of loss will have Trevor ZygrassAnd Troy TerryAnd Jimmy Drysdale And Mason McTavish. (McTavish, To his credit and Eakinsrecently launched).

At some point, change will be necessary. Bedard’s reckoning looms here, though — as does Anaheim’s cost-benefit analysis of paying two coaches at a time, even if only for half a season. However, it is rare to see coaches finish their schedules with so much conflict with them.

Bruce Boudreau Canucks. What is left to say about the Canucks season that they haven’t told themselves? Jim Rutherford took some time off from publicly neglecting his coach while simultaneously refusing to fire him, but Boudreau moved.

Boudreau said after losing 6-2 to Islanders on January 3. “Then that’s it.” In the week that followed, they witnessed the dreaded “team meeting”, a win over Avs and, of course, a 7-4 loss to Winnipeg that marked a Kyle Connor Hat trick. Step back, if you can, and try to remember the five funniest things that came out of Vancouver this season. Save room for this, though. It’s been barely a week.

So why is Boudreau still around? Money seems to be the obvious answer to both sides of the equation. If the ol’ departure hasn’t dropped in the season yet, it probably won’t happen at all. should, though; They make the rest of us uncomfortable.

(Bruce Boudreau top photo: Derek Cain/Getty Images)

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