Being an NHL coach isn’t simple. It’s a job that requires a plethora of hockey data, loads of earlier taking part in and/or teaching expertise, management, endurance and numerous hours of devotion and dedication on and off the ice.
In a cutthroat, results-driven league just like the NHL, when coaches fail to ship on expectations, no matter their earlier accomplishments, they’re typically relieved of their duties.
Listed here are 5 NHL coaches who would possibly discover themselves on the recent seat this season in the event that they’re nowhere close to assembly these expectations:
D.J. Smith, Ottawa Senators
D.J. Smith has the respect of his gamers, however his seat is boiling. If the Senators don’t get off to a successful begin and discover themselves beneath .500 after the primary 20 video games – as they’ve been for the previous 4 seasons beneath Smith’s management – Smith may very properly be the primary coach to get the boot in 2023-24.
He has but to guide the Senators to the playoffs, and whereas administration has been extraordinarily affected person with everybody all through the Senators’ extended rebuild, Ottawa’s retooling is nearly full. Clinching a playoff berth is the naked minimal this season. “Enjoying aggressive video games down the stretch” merely received’t minimize it anymore in Ottawa.
Craig Berube, St. Louis Blues
Berube was employed in November 2018, and regardless of a rocky begin, he led the Blues on a miraculous run to their first-ever Stanley Cup. Since then, the Blues have solely received one playoff sequence, and so they’re coming off a season the place they underperformed all around the ice, ending with a subpar report of 37-38-7 and lacking the post-season completely.
Whereas all of the blame doesn’t relaxation on Berube’s shoulders, he couldn’t appear to get to the basis of his workforce’s struggles, and he made his ideas clear about goaltender Jordan Binnington’s less-than-stellar efficiency between the pipes. This season could also be Berube’s final probability to work it out and discover a successful system.
Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins
Sullivan has introduced two Stanley Cups to Pittsburgh and is the winningest coach in Penguins historical past with 337 profession victories. Nevertheless, the Penguins missed the playoffs final season for the primary time since Sidney Crosby’s rookie marketing campaign in 2005-06.
The Penguins made an enormous splash within the low season, buying three-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson in a three-team commerce to bolster the protection corps. Karlsson, contemporary off a 101-point season, can even present an enormous enhance to the Pens’ offense. If the Penguins begin the season on a bitter word or aren’t firmly in a playoff place by the all-star break, Sullivan could also be dismissed.
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs
After 19 years, the Maple Leafs lastly broke their first-round curse, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six video games to advance to Spherical 2. Then, they had been promptly eradicated by the Florida Panthers in 5 video games. Within the low season, the Leafs strengthened their ahead group, added to their protection and supplemented their goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and both Joseph Woll or Martin Jones, which is quietly good.
The Leafs ought to end close to the highest of the Atlantic Division once more, however although famous person Auston Matthews has been signed to a four-year extension, one other early playoff exit may imply dramatic adjustments to the roster subsequent summer time – and Keefe’s dismissal.
Dean Evason, Minnesota Wild
Just like the Leafs, the Wild have been a great regular-season workforce however wrestle to place it collectively within the playoffs. Below Evason, the Wild have made the playoffs 4 occasions however have but to win a first-round sequence. Evason has a powerful 142-67-23 report within the common season and has helped the Wild contend for the division title the previous three seasons. Nevertheless, his playoff report is a meager 8-15.
Except for Kirill Kaprizov, the Wild lack the top-end expertise of the Leafs or Oilers. Evason could have extra wiggle room than Keefe, however one other first-round exit or lacking the playoffs completely may even see him out.
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