NHL 2011-2012: Top 7 Coaches Without NHL Jobs
In the NHL, it seems as though coaches come and go as often as rule changes.
Coaching changes offer a much-needed jolt to the team and sometimes even a change in identity.
A perfect example of this is Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, who was hired because the team needed a different look. This change was an instant success, and the team went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.
The trend seems to be that coaches are hired from within the team's organization, commonly the team's AHL head coach (Bylsma, Joe Sacco, Bruce Boudreau and Cory Clouston are examples).
This trend has left many established veteran coaches either without jobs or starting over with minor-league teams.
Here is a list of the top seven head coaches currently without jobs in the NHL.
As always, feel free to comment; I am always interested in the opinions of others.
Also, please follow me on twitter (@cousins_ben); I will try to entertain you.
7. Mike Keenan
Mike Keenan is one of the most storied coaches in NHL history.
Keenan won a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994.
Keenan has a unique style, one that pushes his players almost to the limits; this style might not work in today's younger NHL. This is why Keenan is ranked seventh on the list of best coaches without an NHL job.
6. Craig MacTavish
Craig MacTavish is a candid coach who can easily relate with his players.
MacTavish was a player in the NHL for 17 seasons, amassing 891 points.
"MacT," as he is often referred to, has a career coaching win percentage of .528 over eight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.
MacTavish spent some time working with the Canadian sports channel TSN before announcing in the offseason that he was becoming the head coach of the AHL's Chicago Wolves.
5. Bob Hartley
Bob Hartley has been out of the NHL since 2007, but I'm sure he is itching to get back to the bigtime.
Hartley coached for nine seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. He has a career win percentage of .581.
He won a Stanley Cup Championship with Colorado in 2001; he also won a Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
Hartley had been in the media working for the French-Canadian channel RDS, but during the offseason, he signed a coaching contract with a team in Zurich, Switzerland.
4. Kirk Muller
Kirk Muller was a great player in his day, and it seems now that he is destined to become a great coach.
Despite not having coached a single game in the NHL, Muller cracks the top five coaches who are not currently in the NHL.
Muller was the assistant coach for the Montreal Canadiens for five seasons before he announced this offseason that he was going to become the head coach of the Nashville Predators' minor-league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.
Players who have had experience with Muller's coaching have only had good things to say.
Any team looking for a coach this season would be silly not to take a serious look at Kirk Muller.
3. Guy Carbonneau
Guy Carbonneau has an established playing career, and he is now working on his career post-playing.
Carbonneau was the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens for three seasons after being in the organization for three seasons.
In 2008, Carbonneau was nominated for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top head coach. However, he narrowly lost to Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals.
Carbonneau is now the head coach, president and co-owner of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, a team in the QMJHL.
2. Marc Crawford
Marc Crawford is one of the most established coaches without a job in the NHL.
During this time, Crawford amassed 549 wins, a Stanley Cup in 1996 with the Avalanche and one Jack Adams Trophy.
As of right now, Crawford is an analyst on TSN.
Marc Crawford has committed to coach the Team Canada Spengler Cup team.
1. Ken Hitchcock
Ken Hitchcock is the best coach currently without an NHL job.
Hitchcock has coached for 15 seasons, winning 534 games with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Hitchcock has a career .512 win percentage.
Hitchcock won a Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Stars.