NHL Teams That Could Have New Coaches After the 2016-17 Season

Allan Mitchell@@Lowetide_Featured ColumnistAugust 22, 2016

NHL Teams That Could Have New Coaches After the 2016-17 Season

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    Marianne Helm/Getty Images

    The NHL coaching carousel made some unusual stops this summer, with Bruce Boudreau moving from the Anaheim Ducks to the Minnesota Wild. Now, new names coach Calgary Flames and the Ottawa Senators, while the Colorado Avalanche have a current opening. 

    Most of the potential coaching changes are obvious—pick a team that struggled last year and finished below expectations. A slow start could mean changes, and the coach is the quickest and often most effective change to be made.

    There are teams—like Anaheim this summer—who surprise us by letting go of a successful coach in search of the right mix to finish the job of winning a Stanley Cup. Here are the NHL teams that could bring in a new coach during or after the 2016-17 season.

Anaheim Ducks: Randy Carlyle

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    Greg Beacham/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  June 14, 2016. The story was covered by NHL.com's Abbey Mastracco.

    Previous Coaching Record (from Hockey Reference):

    • 10 seasons, 364 wins
    • six playoff appearances
    • coached the Anaheim Ducks to 2007 Stanley Cup victory

    2014-15 Results: 21-16-3, 45 points before being relieved of his duties with the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: There is only one reason to fire Bruce Boudreau—covered by TSN—and that is playoff performance. The first-round exit in the spring continued a string of disappointing showings by the team since 2007.

    The Ducks remain a veteran group—many players remain from Carlyle's last turn with the team—and the time is now for men like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. The team also has an outstanding group of youngsters establishing themselves at the NHL level—including unsigned regulars Hampus Lindholm and Rikard Rakell who are both quality.

    Anaheim got off to a terrible start a year ago and then roared into the postseason before bowing out in a tough series that went the limit against the Nashville Predators. The line in the sand is clear for Carlyle: The expectation is a Stanley Cup win before Perry, Getzlaf and the other veterans fade from current levels of ability.

Boston Bruins: Claude Julien

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  June 21, 2007. Story via NHL.com, who noted the Boston Bruins fired Dave Lewis and hired Claude Julien less than a week later. 

    Previous Coaching Record (from Hockey Reference):

    • 13 seasons, 512 wins
    • eight playoff appearances
    • coached the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2011
    • coached the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013

    2015-16 Results: 42-31-9, 93 points and another missed playoffs—the second miss in a row

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: The Bruins make the playoffs—annually—and that is the expectation every season. Since the 1967 expansion—a total of 48 seasons—Boston has missed seven times, or about once every seven years.

    Under Julien, the club has won the Stanley Cup, made another appearance in the finals and has now been on the outside looking in for two years in a row. Boston has missed the postseason in back-to-back years twice previously since the turn of the century—and replaced the coach both times.

    That suggests Julien is probably under the microscope, even with the unusual fine tuning being done by the front office since the firing of Peter Chiarelli. For Julien, the 2016-17 season needs to conclude with a playoff berth. The last time a Bruins coach kept his job after consecutive playoff misses: Milt Schmidt in 1965-66 and it is extremely unlikely to occur this time.

Colorado Avalanche: To Be Determined

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  The Colorado Avalanche are currently without a head coach, as Patrick Roy resigned in August. The surprising story was covered by Rick Sadowski of NHL.com.

    Previous Coaching Record: The new man at the helm may also be new to the NHL. As Terry Frei of The Denver Post reported, it is a difficult time to be searching for a coach, as other teams have set their staff and are close to being ready for training camp.

    2015-16 Results: 39-39-4, 82 points under Roy and another playoff miss.

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: There are several major issues with this hire. First, there is a real chance general manager Joe Sakic will not be able to interview all of his preferred candidates—NHL teams have their staffs set, and we are mere weeks away from training camp.

    Another major issue comes in finding a coach who is both a strong option for this season and the future. Sakic could hire someone who is familiar with the organization—like former Avalanche coach Bob Hartley—but he hasn't coached for Colorado in over a decade and may not fit the organization's mission statement.

    The Roy resignation puts Sakic and the entire Avalanche organization in a tough spot—there is no easy answer for the team. Whoever comes in this fall, chances are that man will have a very difficult task.

Montreal Canadiens: Michel Therrien

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  June 5, 2012. The story was covered by NHL.com and included thoughts on why Michel Therrien thought he would be a better coach in his second stint as Montreal Canadiens' coach.

    Previous Coaching Record (from Hockey Reference):

    • 11 seasons, 375 wins
    • six playoff appearances
    • coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final

    2015-16 Results: 38-38-6, 82 points and just the third playoff miss in the last decade for the Canadiens.

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: Montreal suffered through a very difficult season in 2015-16, mostly due to franchise goalie Carey Price and his injuries. The club made some major offseason moves—including the acquisition of Shea Weber for P.K. Subban—partly in an effort to ice a team that suits Therrien's strengths.

    The big move this summer allows Therrien to deploy a more traditional defensive group. Gone is the chaos of Subban, with Weber's more traditional style in its place. Weber is no slouch offensively, but the team will miss Subban's passing and puck transporting ability.

    The pressure for Therrien will come if the team slumps. A year ago, things looked good with Price in net, and that is a good bet for this coming season. Trading Subban changes the team in a big way. Any dip in offense would mean the thin line between playoffs and going home at the end of the regular season would be even less forgiving.

    It is going to be a difficult season for Montreal's coach. That is the nature of the job. Anything less than a playoff berth and real progress could backfire on coach Therrien and leave him out in the cold.

Vancouver Canucks: Willie Desjardins

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  June 23, 2014. NHL.com covered the story at the time. 

    Previous Coaching Record (from Hockey Reference):

    • two seasons, 79 wins
    • one playoff appearance

    2015-16 Results: 31-38-13, 75 points and a playoff miss.

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: Willie Desjardins got the Vancouver Canucks coaching job at a very difficult time. A veteran team that made it to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals before falling short, the team faltered under new coach John Tortorella in the season after Alain Vigneault was fired.

    When he arrived, Desjardins was already overseeing a group that was long in the tooth and being dismantled by management. His task—and it will continue this season—is to make the playoffs with Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the veterans while management continues to rebuild on the fly.

    It is extremely difficult work for the general manager in these situations and often impossible for the coach. Desjardins brought the group to the playoffs in 2015 but missed last season. The team appears to be faltering in important situations and a slow start could mean selling off more veteran assets for futures.

    Willie Desjardins is in one of the most difficult coaching spots in the NHL entering the season.

Winnipeg Jets: Paul Maurice

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Date of Hiring:  June 12, 2014. Patrick Williams had the story for NHL.com, detailing the firing of Claude Noel and the hiring of Paul Maurice by the Winnipeg Jets. 

    Previous Coaching Record (from Hockey Reference):

    • 19 seasons, 556 wins
    • five playoff appearances
    • coached the 2001-02 Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Final

    2015-16 Results: 35-39-8, 78 points and outside the playoffs.

    Why He's on the Hot Seat: Winnipeg has enjoyed the Jets return, but the 2016-17 campaign will represent the sixth season back in Manitoba with no playoff wins and only one appearance. Maurice is recognized as a quality coach, but the results have not come easily for this team.

    One area Maurice and management seem to slip up annually is in goal. The team finished No. 22 in goals against last season with 236, but tied for No. 13 in shots against in 2015-16. The Jets goaltending issues make themselves known every year but there seems to be hesitation to change out the incumbents at the position.

    Winnipeg has a veteran group of defenders who are good at shot suppression and can help offensively. The addition of impact prospect Patrik Laine should help, and Connor Hellebuyck looks like he could be a bona fide No. 1 goalie if he gets a chance. Maurice's handling of the goalie situation may dictate his future with the Jets.


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