NHL Power Rankings: Rating All 30 Coaches and Their Job Security for 2011-12
Some NHL coaches have it good. Guys like Lindy Ruff in Buffalo and Terry Murray in LA watched their respective owners open their pocketbooks this summer and throw some major money around. Other coaches, like Barry Trotz and Dave Tippett, regularly get much more out of their rosters than anyone could expect when looking at it on paper.
Other NHL coaches have a huge payroll and very little to show for it. Some, like Todd McLellan and Alain Vigneault, have been within sniffing distance of the promised land, but never been there. Others, like Bruce Boudreau and Pete Laviolette, have enormous expectations this year.
Looking around the NHL, some coaches have great job security, and others do not.
Let's look at who has the best chance of being on the bench next year, and who might be looking for a new gig soon.
30. Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks
He has taken the Canucks all the way to the Cup Finals, but hasn't won the ultimate prize. If the Canucks struggle on the ice this year, and don't continue to play at a President's Trophy-level, he might be the scapegoat for the organization's desperation to win it all.
29. Scott Arniel, Columbus Blue Jackets
A hopeless season running down the drain could be cut short for Arniel if his players don't perform better. Soon.
28. Glen Gulutzan, Dallas Stars
He has no job security after this season because he doesn't know who will be signing his paychecks next week. A new owner might offer the dreaded "different direction" excuse for a termination.
27. Brent Sutter, Calgary Flames
Honestly, I have no idea how he still has a job.
26. Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks
Doug Wilson sent a clear message to everyone in San Jose this summer that, if he feels a change needs to be made to win a championship, he'll make the move. McLellan may have taken the Sharks as far as he can.
25. Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
Sacco has a lot of talent to work with, but needs to get his players to perform every night. If the leaders on his team start taking nights off, he might find a pink slip in his office.
24. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators
His roster is young and isn't very good. Bad teams tend to change coaches. Will MacLean lose his job? Probably not. But the recipe in Ottawa doesn't look good for this season.
23. Ron Wilson, Toronto Maple Leafs
The only coach that can understand the media scrutiny on Wilson would probably be Joe Girardi with the New York Yankees. If the Leafs don't improve, they might need to make a change in Toronto.
22. Kevin Dineen, Florida Panthers
Dale Tallon fired his friend, Denis Savard, less than a week into a season once. Dineen might not be a seasoned coach, but if a better option presents itself, Tallon might pull the trigger again.
21. Jack Capuano, New York Islanders
He's dealing with another DiPietro injury, and simply doesn't have the talent to win the Cup. But with any young team, it's possible that he loses the leadership on the roster at some point. If he does, he's gone.
20. Mike Yeo, Minnesota Wild
Minnesota made some dramatic changes this year, and Yeo has been given much better scoring than the Wild have had in the last few years. If they fall well out of playoff contention, there might be a change.
19. Tom Renney, Edmonton Oilers
He has a young, talented roster and an ancient netminder. If he loses the room, he might lose his job as well.
18. Randy Carlysle, Anaheim Ducks
If this really is Selanne's last season, the Ducks will be going for broke. Any slide this season could open the door for the Ducks to make a move behind the bench.
17. Claude Noel, Winnipeg Jets
If we're honest, Noel probably has some of the best job security in the NHL for this regular season. He's the first head coach of the Winnipeg Jets 2.0. It's a low pressure-to-win-now situation in 'Peg, and more sudden change isn't going to help anybody. But will he be there long-term?
16. Terry Murray, Los Angeles Kings
Murray has, on paper, a team that is as deep and improved as any team in the Western Conference. But with great talent comes great expectations. Murray is close with the front office in LA, but he's under the spotlights all year.
NOTE: Every coach in the top 15 has little/no chance of losing their job this year. If one coach is "ranked" higher than another, it doesn't necessarily mean he has a "better" chance of keeping his job.
15. Peter DeBoer, New Jersey Devils
Rarely do first year coaches get fired. And when they have the full faith of the front office, they usually get at least two years to figure things out.
14. Paul Maurice, Carolina Hurricanes
What does a coach in the NHL need for job security?
1. Scoring - check
2. A good captain - check
3. A great goalie - check
Maurice will have to screw things up pretty badly to lose his job this year.
13. Davis Payne, St. Louis Blues
This is the best roster they've had in St. Louis in years, and Payne has been able to work his team through rough injury-plagued stretches in the past. If the Blues can stay healthy, he might get an invitation to Vegas.
12. Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals
He was the runaway winner of last year's HBO series, but he also needs to get his roster to take the next step.
11. Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia Flyers
It's a unique situation in Philly this year. Laviolette has a good team and a great chance to get deep into the postseason, and management has appeared to have his back all along. But management has also shown a willingness to trade their captain 12 months after playing in the Cup Finals.
10. John Tortorella, New York Rangers
This guy is the best thing to happen to coaching in New York since Pat Riley. He's a fireball of emotion that tells any microphone exactly what's on his mind. Well... any microphone other than Larry Brooks'.
9. Guy Boucher, Tampa Bay Lightning
If the wheels fall off in Tampa, he could get run. But with high character guys in the room and young players like Hedman and Stamkos only getting better, his job would appear to be safe.
8. Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes
I would say his odds of being on the bench in Phoenix next year are 100 percent, but without knowing 1) who the owner of the 'Yotes will be at that point and 2) if they'll even be in Arizona in 12 months. Tippett does an incredible job with very few resources.
7. Jacques Martin, Montreal Canadiens
I'm sure he would prefer having a couple 80-point guys on his roster, but Martin does a good job of getting the Habs into position to win.
6. Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres
Ruff is respected and gets a lot out of his players, and now he has a really good roster.
5. Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators
This is going to be a tough season, and next summer could be even harder for Preds fans, but Trotz continues to get a ton out of his roster.
4. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings
He's one of the most respected coaches in the game, and doesn't figure to be leaving Detroit any time soon.
3. Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins
Odds of Bylsma getting fired are as close to zero as possible. The job he did last year was remarkable, and he's got the Pens off to a flying start this year.
2. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago won the Cup in 2010, and then stripped Quenneville of half his roster before last year. Between the departures and injuries, Quenneville did a solid job. With a reloaded roster this year, the Hawks are a Cup contender again, and Quenneville is still as popular as ever in Chicago.
1. Claude Julien, Boston Bruins
He kissed the Cup this summer. It would take an epic disaster for Julien to get run, and his character isn't one that opens the doors for overwhelming mistakes and ridiculous errors.