Ranking Coach Openings in NHL


As coaching jobs become available, it is uncertain who will fill the roles. (Courtesy of Twitter)

There have been a large number of coach firings at the halfway point of the season, and we can make some educated guesses on other openings that will come at the end of the season. When looking at all of these jobs, each has their pros and cons, but there is one that pulls away from the rest. 

Looking at the current openings, the number one coaching job available is for the Florida Panthers. Andrew Brunette might be doing enough to keep that job after a President’s Trophy level first half, but if they don’t win the cup this year, I could see them going big game hunting to replace Joel Quenneville. His unexpected departure after the Kyle Beach scandal left a gaping hole that Brunette has filled quite nicely. 

The Edmonton Oilers will take the number two spot simply because of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The rest of the team is poorly built and general manager Ken Holland has not proven an ability to manage the salary cap since the last Red Wings championship in 2008. The ability to coach the greatest player of the generation brings this job out of the basement. 

Paul Maurice stepped down from the Winnipeg Jets in a surprising move, a great spot for an unproven coach. With one of the best goaltenders in the world, they can truly experiment with new defensive systems while adding pieces necessary to compete with Colorado. While this is a disappointing season for Winnipeg, the right hire could get them over this hump for next season.

The Vancouver Canucks don’t technically have an opening as Bruce Boudreau is signed for next season as well, but given the way he has them playing, we’ll put them here for argument’s sake. With a new-look front office, expect exciting things out of Vancouver over the next few years. 

Next, we have the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers fired Alain Vigneault after a ten-game losing streak and interim coach Mike Yeo has now head manned a 13-game losing skid. It will be a new era in Philly with no Claude Giroux, but they still have pieces under long contracts that will force the front office to make win-now moves. The next coach could be seen as a hero in a championship-starved city if the right moves are made. 

Last on the list of current openings is the Montreal Canadiens. Yes, they just went to the Stanley Cup Final but the roster is in full reconstruction mode. Plus, Jeff Gorton pulled a quick trigger on John Tortorella and Vigneault during his time with the New York Rangers. The coach who takes this job might be able to coach Shane Wright but other than that there are very few bright spots. 

Potential candidates for this job include David Quinn, who led the U.S. in the Olympics, Claude Julien, head coach for Canada in China, Jeremy Colliton and, of course, a myriad of first-timers that could jump in. 

Other jobs for those guys could include New Jersey, which is a great opening. Between Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton and Jesper Bratt they have a great young core and a proven fanbase. If they can get the right guy in net and more depth at forward, watch out for the Devils next season. 

Only Montreal falls below the Ottawa job, as D.J. Smith has fallen short of the preposterous expectations from the preseason. The prospect pool is strong, led by Americans Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson, but the team is weak on defense and in net for now and will struggle to win for years to come. With these “years of unparalleled success” that owner Pierre Dorion is trying to promote, it might be a tough few years of falling short of that expectation for Smith or the next coach.