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When the puck drops on October 7, six coaches will be starting the toughest seasons of their careers: their first as a head coach.
Tom Renney will be coaching the re-building Edmonton Oilers. He was previously the head coach of the New York Rangers before being dismissed in 2009. He led the Rangers to the playoffs three years in a row, but never made it further than the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Renney served as an associate coach for the Oilers last season before being named head coach in the offseason.
Scott Arniel, who will be taking over the Columbus Blue Jackets, was previously an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres from 2002-2006. This will be his first NHL head coaching job.
After leaving the Sabres, Arniel coached the Manitoba Moose, the AHL affiliate of the Canucks. In 2009, he was named the AHL's Coach of the Year and took the Moose to the 2009 Calder Cup Finals.
Davis Payne will begin his first full season with the St. Louis Blues after being named interim head coach following the dismissal of Andy Murray in January. Under his guidance, the Blues posted a 23-15-4 record for the remainder of 2009-2010, but failed to make the postseason.
Payne came up through the system, coaching the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL and posting a 62-44-9 record. He coached the team from 2008 until his promotion.
Guy Boucher signed a four-year contract to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year, he was the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate. He led Hamilton to a record of 52-17-11 and was named the 2010 Coach of the Year.
Craig Ramsay, who takes over the Atlanta Thrashers, has extensive experience behind an NHL bench. He has previously served as an assistant coach with the Senators, the Sabres, the Lightning, and the Flyers. In 2004, he won the Stanley Cup with the Bolts.
Ramsay was also the Flyers' interim head coach from 2000-2001. In 2000, he helped the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they ultimately lost to the Devils.
Peter Laviolette probably has the most pressure on him out of all of the new coaches. Last year, he took over the Flyers after John Stevens was fired in 2009. The Flyers made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and then went on a remarkable run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Laviolette is no stranger to success. He also won the 2006 Stanley Cup as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes also had the best record in the Southeast Division in 2006, posting a 52-22-8 mark.
John MacLean will be the head coach of the Devils after serving as an assistant for eight seasons. He was on the coaching staff for the Devils' 2003 title.
Whether these coaches are veterans of NHL benches or newbies, they will have a lot of pressure to lead their teams to glory and implement a successful philosophy.