Coaches in the NHL beware: GM’s have been on a firing spree. Paul MacLean, Dallas Eakins, Peter Horacheck, Ted Nolan and now Craig Berube. All of these men have been relieved of their duties this season. Here are ten coaches that you could see behind the bench of your favorite team next season.
Career: 527-285-19-119 Win Pct: .584
Babcock is the hottest name on this list. Currently Head Coach of the Detroit Red Wings he has defined consistency in the NHL for the past decade. Under his watch the Wings have not missed the playoffs. He has two Western Conf Championships (LOL remember when they were in the west) and one Stanley Cup under his belt. Babcock is currently in the last year of his deal and unless he signs an extension, he will be a free agent whenever the Wings finish their playoff run. Ed Snider (Flyers Owner) is going to try REALLY hard to get him.
Career: 252-117-32 Win Pct:.670
Bylsma has been sitting on the sidelines (and sometimes the set of NHL Tonight) since being let go by the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 6, 2014. In his first season with the Pens he was able to win the Stanley Cup, and the very next year he took them to the finals for a chance at repeat. He won the Jack Adams award for best coach in the 2010-2011 season. Bylsma also has experience behind the bench for Team USA in the Olympics. Critics will question his record saying “How can you not have more success with Crosby?!?” and they wouldn’t be wrong. My gut feeling is he lands a job this season, just hopefully not in Philly.
Career: 114-90-35 Win Pct: .553
Paul MacLean is a middle of the road coach. He was let go by the Ottawa Senators on December 8, 2014 after posting a .500 record in 27 games (worked out for the Sens). In his three and a half seasons in Ottawa, MacLean took the team to the playoffs twice most recently in 2013. There are definitely better options on this list if you are a GM shopping.
Career: 75-58-28 .553
Berube took over the Philadelphia Flyers just three games into the 2013-2014 season after they let Peter Laviolette go. He managed to get the Flyers into the playoffs that year, and was a top candidate for the Jack Adams award. That success didn’t translate to this season. Obvious mismanagement of players, and no compete level got Craig Berube the ax. He is the type of guy who excels as an assistant but not so much as a head coach, though maybe the Oilers could try him out, because why not?
Career: 36-63-14 Win Pct: .381
Can anyone really excel in Edmonton? A small sample size for Dallas Eakins doesn’t really give a GM much to go on. Eakins was named head coach of the Oilers on June 10, 2013. He came highly recommended after coaching the Toronto Marlies to three straight seasons of number one finishes. I feel like he would be a good fit in Buffalo. He could grow as a coach while the team grows as a team.
Career: 187-227-19-38 Win Pct: .458
Another guy with a deceiving record. Nolan was head coach of the Buffalo Sabres from 95-97 and then the New York Islanders from 06-08. He returned to Buffalo on November 13, 2013 inheriting an absolutely awful hockey team. Nolan is a decent coach with the right tools, in his first tour with the Sabres he won the Jack Adams Award in 1995, and in his two seasons on with the Isles he took them to the playoffs. He also took the Latvian Olympic team to the final seconds with Team Canada in the Sochi Winter Olympics. I wouldn’t be waiting by the phone if I were him, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if it rang.
Career: 217-200-77 Win Pct: .517
DeBoer was let go by the New Jersey Devils on December 26, 2014 after leading the Devils to an under .500 record midway through the season. During his four-year tenure with the Devils DeBoer made the playoffs once, going ALMOST all the way, eventually losing to the LA Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. He was also head coach of the Florida Panthers from 08-10. Under his watch the Panthers ALMOST qualified for the playoffs in April of 2009 but they finished 9th in the east.
Career: 470-278-10-102 Win Pct: .613
Claude Julien has been around the block. In his twelve years as an NHL head coach he has stood behind the bench of the Montreal Canadiens, the New Jersey Devils, and currently the Boston Bruins. Julien is a solid coach with one Stanley Cup and an Eastern Conference Championship under his belt. He was also the recipient of the Jack Adams Award in 2009. So why is he on this list if he is still employed? Because the Bruins need a new GM and that person may want to bring in his own guy. After missing the playoffs this year, his job could be in jeopardy.
Career: 311-163-66 Win Pct: .637
Looking at his numbers McLellan stands out as one of the best coaches on this list. However the biggest critique of the current San Jose Sharks coach is his playoff record. At 30-32 .484 in the playoffs McLellan is certainly not a closer. The Sharks have made the playoffs since he took over in 2008-2009 and have always had contending teams. They cannot close. Last year they were ousted by the Kings in the first round after being up 3-0. The Sharks always seem to have the tools, but never know how to use them. McLellan may retain his position in San Jose but I doubt it. Another good candidate for Buffalo or Edmonton.
Career: 97-79-20 Win Pct: .546
To round out the list we have former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher. Boucher was fired by new GM Steve Yzerman on March 24, 2013. He is currently head coach of Swiss ice hockey SC Bern. Boucher doesn’t really have flashy numbers. In Tampa he lost in the Eastern Conf. Finals in his first year, missed they playoffs the next and obviously was fired the next. As a GM I would look to bring him in as an assistant but certainly not as a head coach.
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