NHL Power Rankings: Each Team's Best Coach in That Franchise's History
Some NHL fans are fortunate to say that their team has won a Stanley Cup. When these fans watch their teams skate around the ice hoisting the holy grail of hockey, they sometimes forget to recognize the reason for their team's success.
Coaching in the NHL is one of the toughest jobs in sports. It is a tough challenge and there are only a handful of coaches who have done their job extremely well.
Now, here is the greatest coach in the history of every team in professional hockey.
The Anaheim Ducks entered the league in 1993. Their current coach is also their greatest coach to ever coach the franchise.
Randy Carlyle began is coaching career in 2005 when he took over command in "The Pond" for Mike Babcock after the lockout. In his inaugural season, Carlyle took the Ducks to the Western Conference Finals, but lost in five games.
His second season was by far his best. Carlyle and the Ducks not only won the Pacific Division, but went all the way and beat the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Carlyle is the only coach to win a Stanley Cup for Anaheim. During his six seasons has the head coach, Carlyle has only missed the playoffs once. Carlyle has a career record in Anaheim of 276-172-61. This makes Randy Carlyle the best coach to ever manage the Ducks.
The Atlanta Thrashers have gone through six coaches since they entered the league in 1999.
The greatest coach to ever coach Atlanta was in charge from 2003 to 2007. Bob Hartley is not only the only Thrashers coach to have a winning record with the team, but he is the only coach that was able to bring playoff hockey to Atlanta.
Hartley held a record of 136-118-37 during his time with the Thrashers.
Bob Hartley now coaches the ZSC Lions in Switzerland.
Tom Johnson was the coach of the Bruins the last time Boston won the Stanley Cup. The year was 1972 and it was Johnson's second season in Bean Town.
There have been many good coaches for the Bruins, but Tom Johnson is the greatest coach in the history of the Bruins.
It is all about winning championships. Johnson is one of five coaches to win a title for Boston. What separates Johnson from the others is his winning percentage. Johnson is the only coach out of the five who have won a Stanley Cup with a winning percentage over .700.
Johnson coached the Bruins from 1970 to 1973. Johnson had a record in Boston of 142-43-23. Tom Johnson won 15 of 22 playoff games.
Johnson died in late November 2007.
The Buffalo Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup. Out of the 15 coaches to coach the Sabres, Lindy Ruff is the coach that has brought Buffalo closest to winning it all.
Lindy Ruff was hired by Buffalo in 1997. He was a familiar face to the Sabres, having played for Buffalo from 1979 to 1989.
Lindy Ruff just finished his 13th season as the head coach of the Sabres. He has a career coaching record of 526-390-150.
What makes Lindy Ruff the greatest coach in the history of Buffalo is his ability to win in the playoffs. Ruff has made eight postseason appearances, making the Stanley Cup Final once.
Ruff is seven games over .500 in the playoffs. He holds a postseason record of 54-47.
Terry Crisp was an easy choice as the Calgary Flames' greatest coach.
Out of 14 different coaches, Terry Crisp is the winningest coach and also the only coach to win a Stanley Cup.
Crisp spent only three years coaching in Calgary. He coached the Flames from 1987 to 1990, finishing with a record of 154-63-33.
There have only been two coaches in the history of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Current head coach Paul Maurice is one of them and Peter Laviolette is the other. Deciding who is the better coach of the two is a tough task.
Paul Maurice coached the Canes from 1997 to 2003 and then was fired. He became the head coach again in 2008, where he has been with the team since. Maurice has brought the Canes to the playoffs four times, winning a total of 25 games. He made it to the Eastern Conference Finals once and the Stanley Cup Finals once, although he lost both.
Peter Laviolette has a case to be the best coach as well. Laviolette coached Carolina from 2003 to 2008. He made the playoffs once, in 2006, where he went on and brought the Carolina Hurricanes their first Stanley Cup title.
So which of the two is the greatest coach? The man with the title or the coach with the more playoff appearances and wins for Carolina?
I would say Paul Maurice has the advantage.
There have been 37 different coaches in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks. The greatest coach of this franchise has only been with Chicago for three seasons and is their current head coach.
Joel Quenneville is one of the greatest coaches to ever coach in the NHL.
Quenneville was named the head coach of the Hawks in 2008. In his first year he made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the Detroit Red Wings.
His second season was Joel's greatest in his career. In the 2009-2010 season, Quenneville led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup since 1961. Quenneville and the Hawks went on a historic run and ended up beating the Philadelphia Flyers in the final.
This season was Quenneville's third with Chicago. He made the playoffs again, but lost in the first round.
Quenneville's career record with Chicago is 151-73-28.
Making the playoffs every single year and winning a Stanley Cup makes Joel Quenneville the greatest coach in the history of the Blackhawks.
Bob Hartley is not only the greatest coach in the history of the Thrashers.
Hartley coached the Colorado Avalanche from 1998 to 2002.
He had a career record in Colorado of 193-108-58.
2001 was Hartley's best season for the Avalanche. Hartley went 52-16-10-4 and went all the way to winning the Stanley Cup.
Hartley finished first in the Northwest Division every single year he coached in Colorado. He won an incredible 49 playoff games for the Avalanche.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the NHL in 2000. Since then, they have gone through seven different coaches.
The greatest out of the seven is Ken Hitchcock.
Hitchcock coached Columbus from 2006 to 2010. He gave Columbus their first, and only, playoff appearance where they were swept in the first round.
In four seasons with the Blue Jackets, he went 126-123-36.
It's Ken again!
In 1993, the Dallas Stars entered the NHL. Since then, they have had five head coaches.
Ken Hitchcock was hired by Big D in 1996 and ended his time with the Stars in 2002.
Hitchcock had an overall record with Dallas of 277-154-72. In 1998 and 1999, his team won the Presidents Trophy. Also in 1999, his team went all the way and won the Stanley Cup.
Hitchcock is the Stars greatest coach because he has the most regular season wins, playoff wins and the Dallas Stars' only Stanley Cup.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings have the third most Stanley Cup Championships in the history of the NHL. Hockey Town has won 11 Stanley Cups, and Scotty Bowman is responsible for three of them.
Bowman started coaching the Red Wings in 1993. After having successful years in St. Louis, Montreal, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, Detroit knew they were getting a very good coach. From 1993 to 2002, Bowman had a record of 414-194-88-10 throughout his time in Detroit.
Bowman made the playoffs every single year while he was in Detroit, winning the Central Division six times. Bowman brought the city of Detroit to four Stanley Cup Finals, where he ended up hoisting the cup in three of them.
Bowman coached the Red Wings for nine seasons and is the winningest coach in the regular season and the postseason Red Wings' history. He is also the winningest coach in the history of the NHL.
Glen Sather is the greatest coach in the history of the Edmonton Oilers. He is responsible for four of Edmonton's five championships.
Sather became the head coach of Edmonton in 1976. It didn't take long for Sather to find success, as he made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost, in his third year as a head coach.
Sather went on to coach the Edmonton Oilers for 14 seasons. He made the postseason 13 times, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals six times.
Sather won four Stanley Cups. He hoisted the holy grail of hockey in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He had an overall record of 464-268-110 and is the winningest coach in the regular season and postseason in Oilers history.
Doug MacLean is the greatest coach in the 18-year history of the Florida Panthers.
Doug MacLean is one of only two men to coach the Panthers into the postseason.
In his first season as head coach, MacLean won 41 games, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where he was swept by Colorado. He made the playoffs in his second season but was eliminated in the first round. He was fired early during his third season as head coach.
MacLean had an overall record of 83-71-33 in Florida and won 13 playoff games.
Los Angeles Kings
It was close, but Bob Pulford beats out Andy Murray as the greatest coach in the history of the Los Angeles Kings.
Pulford became the head coach of Los Angeles in 1972. He coached the Kings for five seasons, making the postseason four times. Pulford was never able to get the Kings to advance past the second round. However, in 1975 he won the Jack Adams Award for the best coach in the league.
Pulford had a career record of 178-150-68 and won 11 of out 26 playoff games.
The Minnesota Wild entered the NHL in 2000. Since then, they have only had two head coaches.
Their first coach, Jacques Lamaire, coached the Wild until 2009 and is the greatest coach in the short history of the Wild.
Lamaire coached Minnesota for eight seasons, making the playoffs three times. The furthest he went in the postseason was in 2003 when he lost in the Western Conference Finals.
Lamaire had an overall record of 293-255-108 in his eight seasons as the Wild's head coach. Lamaire won 11 of 29 playoff games.
Any coach that can bring five Stanley Cup Championships to a team is going to be the best coach in the history of that team. This is the case for the Montreal Canadiens.
Scotty Bowman started coaching Montreal in 1971. He coached the Canadiens for eight seasons, making the postseason every single year.
Bowman won his first Stanley Cup in 1973. In 1976, Bowman hit a hot streak and won four consecutive Stanley Cups. He is one of only a few coaches to ever accomplish this.
Bowman coached his final game in Montreal in 1979. He ended with an outstanding overall record of 419-110-105 and won 70 of 98 playoff games while coaching for the Canadiens.
Barry Trotz has been the man calling the shots ever since the Predators entered the league in 1998.
After 12 seasons as the head coach in Nashville, Trotz has an overall record of 455-407-60-76.
Trotz has brought the Predators to the postseason six times. He has won only eight of 28 playoff games. This season was the first season he was ever able to advance past the first round.
New Jersey Devils
Jacques Lamaire is the greatest coach to ever stand behind the benches in New Jersey.
Lamaire spent two stints coaching the Devils. He coached New Jersey from 1993 to 1998, then came back and coached the last two seasons for the Devils.
In his second season in New Jersey, Lamaire won the 1995 Stanley Cup. This was the Devils' first Stanley Cup in the history of the franchise.
In his seven seasons as the Devils' head coach, Lamaire made the postseason five times. His final record with New Jersey was 275-176-57-10. He won 35 playoff games.
New York Islanders
Al Arbour is one of the winningest coaches in the history of the NHL, so it was easy to pick the Islanders' greatest coach.
Arbour started coaching the Islanders in 1973. He coached the Islanders for 19 seasons before hanging it up in 1994. However, he did coach one game in 2008.
Arbour brought the Islanders to the postseason 15 times. His playoff record was an outstanding 114-76. Arbour won four Stanley Cups for the Islanders, winning them all consecutively.
Arbour finished his Islanders career with a record of 740-537-223.
New York Rangers
The greatest coach to ever coach the New York Rangers is Lester Patrick.
Patrick became the head coach of the Rangers in 1926. He was a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning in 1928 and 1933. His overall record with the Rangers was 281-206-87, the winningest coach in Rangers history.
In the playoffs, he won 32 of 65 games.
Lester Patrick is famous for actually leaving the bench and playing goalie in a playoff game. His goaltender was injured and Patrick decided he would be the replacement. Patrick only allowed one goal and led his team to an overtime victory. That is the year the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
Lester Patrick holds the record for oldest goalie to ever play in an NHL game.
After a seven-year absence from coaching in the NHL, Jacques Martin agreed to be the next coach of the Ottawa Senators in 1996.
Martin coached in Ottawa for nine seasons and is the winningest coach in Senators' history.
In 1996, Martin became the head coach with only 38 games left in the regular season. That season, the Senators missed out on the playoffs. The next eight seasons, Martin was able to lead Ottawa into the postseason. Martin never brought a Cup to Ottawa. In 2002 he was able to lead the Senators to conference finals but he lost.
Martin finished his Ottawa coaching career with a 246-191-91. Martin won 17 of 44 postseason contests.
Martin is currently the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
In 1967, the Philadelphia Flyers entered the NHL. Since then, they have had 17 different head coaches.
In 1971, Fred Shero became the third coach in the history of the Flyers.
Shero coached in the City of Brotherly Love until 1978. Shero had a career record of 308-151-95 and was the first coach to ever win the Jack Adams Award in 1974.
Shero reached the playoffs every year except his first in Philadelphia. He reached four Stanley Cup Finals and won two consecutively in 1974 and 1975. Shero won 47 playoff games for the Flyers.
The Phoenix Coyotes entered the NHL in 1996. Since then, they have had six different head coaches.
The greatest coach to ever coach in the desert is Bob Francis.
Francis and his mustache spent his entire coaching career with Phoenix. He became the head coach in 1999 and stayed with the team until 2004. He had an overall record of 165-144-81 and made the playoffs twice in five seasons. He is the winningest coach in the history of the Coyotes. Francis won the Jack Adams Award in 2002.
In the two years the Coyotes made the postseason, Francis only won two of 10 playoff games.
I may draw a bunch of criticism with this pick, but I can back it up.
Dan Bylsma is the greatest coach in the history of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bylsma became the head coach of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins midway through the 2008-2009 season. That season after he took over, the Penguins were outstanding and went all the way to win Pittsburgh's third Stanley Cup Championship. He became the 14th coach to ever win the Stanley Cup in his first season.
After two-and-a-half seasons in Pittsburgh, Bylsma has a record of 114-56-19. His winning percentage is .653 and is the highest out of all coaches who have ever coached the Penguins. Bylsma has brought the Penguins to the postseason every single year he has coached. He has won 23 of 37 postseason games.
The winningest coach in Penguins history is Eddie Johnston. He won 232 games for the Penguins but only made the Conference Finals once, and lost.
At the end of this season, the Penguins recognized how great of a coach he is and gave him a contract extension through the 2014 season.
St. Louis Blues
In 1967, the St. Louis Blues entered the NHL. They have had 23 different head coaches in the history of their franchise.
The greatest coach to ever coach the Blues is Joel Quenneville.
Quenneville coached the Blues from 1996 to 2004. With 307 wins, he is the winningest coach in the history of the St. Louis Blues.
In eight seasons with the Blues, Joel led St. Louis to seven postseason appearances. Quenneville lost in the first round three times, but made it to the Conference Finals only once and was knocked out in five games.
Quenneville won the 2000 Jack Adams Award for being the best coach in the NHL that season.
San Jose Sharks
In 1991, the San Jose Sharks were welcomed into the National Hockey League.
Since then, they have had eight different coaches. Their seventh coach was Ron Wilson, and he is the greatest coach in the franchise's history.
Wilson became the coach of the Sharks in 2002. After five seasons as the head coach, Wilson was fired in 2008.
Wilson's record in San Jose was 206-122-19-38, making his winning percentage .609. Wilson won 28 of 52 postseason contests. Wilson made the playoffs four out of five times. He lost in the second round three times and lost in the Conference Finals once in 2004.
Wilson is now the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning entered the league in 1992. Since then, they have had eight different head coaches.
Picking the greatest coach of this franchise was easy. John Tortorella reigns supreme over the other seven coaches.
Tortorella became the head coach in Tampa Bay in 2001. Tortorella spent seven seasons with the Lightning. His overall record was 239-222-74.
Tortorella is the greatest coach in Lightning history because he is the winningest coach and brought the franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship to the city in 2004.
Tortorella won 24 out of 45 playoff games for the Lightning.
He is now the head coach of the New York Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
You have to go back about 40 years to see who the greatest coach is in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs have had 36 different coaches since 1917. The greatest coach is Punch Imlach.
Imlach coached in Toronto for a little more than 11 seasons. His overall record for the Leafs was 365-272-123.
Imlach made the postseason 10 out of 11 seasons. He won the Stanley Cup four times. He won three in a row from 1962 to 1964 and added another one in 1967.
Since they entered the league in 1970, the Canucks have had 16 different head coaches. The greatest was Pat Quinn.
Quinn coached in Vancouver from 1990 to 1996. He won 138 games, making him the winningest coach in franchise history.
Quinn reached the postseason all five seasons he managed in Vancouver. He won 31 playoff games, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals once.
Quinn won the Jack Adams Award in 1992 for being the best coach that season.
The Capital City has had 14 different head coaches since they entered the league in 1974.
The greatest coach was Bryan Murray, who coached the Capitals from 1981 to 1990.
Murray is the winningest coach in both the regular season and the postseason in the history of the Capitals. With 343 season wins and 24 postseason wins, no other Washington coach comes close to being the best.
Murray brought postseason hockey to Washington D.C. seven consecutive seasons but was never able to advance past the second round.
Murray also won the Jack Adams Award in 1984.