Tha Sports Junkies 101

NHL Hot Seat: Five Coaches Who May Be On Their Way Out

Andrew Gardecki via


Which Coaches Are On The Hot Seat?

Almost 20 games into the NHL regular season, we are starting to get a clear picture into which teams are legitimate contenders, and which teams will be on the golf course come spring time. While a slow start does not mean you are automatically out of the playoffs (the Anaheim Ducks started the season out 1-7-2 during the 2015-16 campaign and ended up finishing with 46 wins), many teams will make a change, sometimes out of desperation, in hopes of turning around a rough start before all hope is lost.

The NHL saw three coaches fired during the 2015-16 season, with the Columbus Blue Jackets firing Todd Richards after a 0-7 start, replacing him with John Tortorella, the Minnesota Wild firing Mike Yeo and hiring John Torchetti, and the Pittsburgh Penguins firing Mike Johnston, replacing him with Mike Sullivan. Now firing your coach during the year doesn’t always solve problems, the Blue Jackets still struggled under Tortorella, but the Wild and Penguins both made the playoffs after the coaching change, and the Penguins even won the Stanley Cup. Will a team this year find the man who can turn the ship around and lead their team to a Stanley Cup? Only time will tell.

Here are 5 coaches who could be out of a job sooner than later:

1. Jack Capuano, New York Islanders:

Following a season in which they won their first playoff series in 23 years, expectations were high for the Islanders. With additions like Andrew Ladd and P.A. Parenteau joining the teams star center and captain John Taveras, many expected this team to be at the top of the standings all season. That hasn’t been the case. The Islanders sit at the bottom of the standings with a league worst 5-8-4 record. Ladd and Parenteau have been nonexistent this season, and with no one stepping up, the Islanders are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. While not all can be blamed on Capuano, the team lost three offensive weapons this past off season and their replacements, Ladd and Parenteua, aren’t producing, as well as key injuries giving the Islanders inconsistent lineups game in and game out, the team needs to do something to get themselves back to being contenders.

2. Willie Desjardins, Vancouver Canucks

After a successful first season under Desjardins, which included 48 wins and a playoff birth, the Canucks only won 31 games, finishing 6th in their division and missed the playoffs. The Canucks have struggled so far this season, starting the season out 7-10-2, one of the worst records in the NHL. The situation with Desjardins is tricky. If you ask most people around the NHL, many will tell you the teams struggles are not on him. The Canucks have attempted to do a rebuild on the fly, keeping veterans like Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Alexander Burrows, and Ryan Miller, as well as adding top free agents like Loui Eriksson and Markus Granlund, yet playing top young prospects Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi. While the team likely needs to fully rebuild, they could decide to move on from Desjardins and see if another head coach can bring out this rosters talent.

3. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

Despite two successful seasons as the Predators head coach, winning a total of 88 games in two seasons, as well as two playoff appearances, Laviolette is going to need to take the next step if he wants to stick around. The Predators entered the season as one of the top Stanley Cup Contenders, and were expected to win the central division. That has not been the case so far, as the Predators are 8-7-3 this season, and are struggling to score goals and keep the puck out of the net. Its unlikely that Laviolette loses his job at all this season, but if things stay the same and the Predators find themselves out of the playoffs, he could be looking for a new job next season.

4. Dave Tippett, Arizona Coyotes

Entering his 7th season with the Coyotes, Tippett has had one of the longest leashes in the league. After making the playoffs in his first 3 years in the dessert, the Coyotes have now missed the playoffs the last 4 seasons, and if their slow start is an indication of the rest of the year, it is likely it becomes 5 straight seasons without a playoff birth. It is an interesting situation in Arizona, as they are in a rebuild, yet with a new stadium coming, and them being at the bottom of attendance in the NHL, ownership might decide they need to see results from Tippett sooner than later. If that does not come, we could see a new bench boss in Arizona next season.

5. Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have started the season off 9-10-2, which puts them right in the middle of the pack of the NHL. Under Maurice, the Jets made the playoffs in his first full season, but missed the next season, dropping from 43 wins to 35. While that is not a significant drop off, when you have a young roster like the Jets, you need to see growth. Whether that can be pinned on Maurice or just the lack of experience on the roster, the young players are not going anywhere, which means Maurice will need to lead his team to a better season than last, and most likely a playoff birth to guarantee his job for next season.