It's fair to say that this was a strange and turbulent season for coaches in the NHL.
Seven have already lost their jobs – only four less than in the eleventh season – although not all layoffs were performance-related. Bill Peters' situation raised all sorts of questions about hockey culture and the player-coach relationship, while Jim Montgomery's fall in Dallas was equally puzzling and shocking.
Only three of the seven teams have hired a full-time defender, while the other four teams work with interim bosses. But all of these teams hoped and expected that their coaching changes would lead to better times for the new player – or at least that their seasons would not be further shortened.
But how have these coaching changes affected so far? Here you can see how the seven teams have been behind the bench since their move.
Sign up for the NHL newsletter
Get the best of our NHL reporting and exclusive offers straight to your inbox!
TORONTO MAPLE LEAVES
Under Mike Babcock: 9-10-4
Under Sheldon Keefe: 16-7-3
Although Toronto's front office would have preferred the team to work through their problems and Babcock lead the Maple Leafs through another playoff before deciding on his future, a six-game loss in mid-November proved to be too tedious. At the time of the decision, Toronto was fifth in the Atlantic and sat outside the playoff picture.
However, since then it has been largely a success under the new head coach Sheldon Keefe. Another mediocrity lately, which culminates in the bye week and the all-star weekend, raises the eyebrows.
Toronto won four of its first five games under Keefe, and in a period of ten games through December and early January, the team never lost one time in regulation. From the day Keefe was hired until January 5, Toronto's 15: 4: 1 league record was the second best after Tampa Bay. Their offensive had started, averaging 4.10 goals per game, while their 2.70 goals per game was the fifth lowest brand. It seemed like everything was coming to Milhouse Leafs.
The past two weeks are worrying again, as Toronto have allowed 28 goals in just six games. Frederik Andersen struggles and starts the all-star break with the lowest save percentage of his career, but it wouldn't be fair to say that the Leafs showed up in all of these games. The first game against Chicago on Saturday, the last before the break, clearly showed this.
So there are two ways to look at this. One of them is that Toronto is now competing against the strengths of the squad and the click attack has given the impression that the team has gone around a corner. On the other hand, Toronto's squad, especially in the past two weeks, has shown the kind of "immaturity" that worries fans how real their Stanley Cup chances are. Therefore, GM Kyle Dubas urgently needs to find help from veterans as soon as possible.
Under Bill Peters: 11-12-4
Under Geoff Ward: 15-7-1
The Flames appeared on the water at the end of Peter's term when he had won only one of his last eight games with the team. Some of their metrics were okay – the Flames were in percentage in Corsi in the middle of the field – but they were outbid in the chances of scoring in the 5v5 victory. Stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan didn't bring up the level we got used to and that the Flames needed. The best story at the beginning was probably how David Rittich quickly acclimatized as a strong NHL starter.
And then a tweet from Akim Aliu started a series of events that changed not only the course of the flames but the entire ice hockey world as we faced difficult questions about the game. Before November broke out, Peters parted and the flames and assistant Geoff Ward temporarily took over.
Although his first game behind the bench is not officially expected to be a coaching record since Peters was still employed, we will honor Ward for winning his first seven games. The exercises became looser as music became the norm over the speakers. This was a turning point in Calgary's season when all distractions could take the team off course, but Ward deserves to stabilize everything.
Under Ward the flames are second in percentage and 13th in percentage with the expected targets. It didn't all go smoothly, but it's worth noting that the flames didn't get out of control once they got hit under Ward. The longest losing streak since the change is only three games.
If there are concerns, the crime shows a tendency to dry out over a long period of time. While the Flames won four of their last six games before the break, they only managed 11 goals on this route. This puts more pressure on goalkeepers and the defense and we wonder if GM Brad Treliving – no stranger to a big trade – is trying to improve his strikers .
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Under John Hynes: 9-14-4
Under Alain Nasreddine: 8-11-3
Less than two years after Hynes led the Devils to a surprising playoff duel, he was out the door after a surprisingly slow start. GM Ray Shero (now a former) has done a lot to speed up this thing – trading for P.K. Subban, designed by Jack Hughes, trading with Taylor Hall a year earlier, signing Wayne Simmonds from the UFA market, trading the upward trend of Nikita Gusev, etc. But instead of taking a step up, New Jersey was still at Hynes Ground left was released on December 3rd.
However, he was a well-respected coach, and it was barely a month before he found a new head coaching job in the league. So what is there? Rather than being to blame for the coaching, the devils can only be blamed for not finding any chemistry and ultimately unraveling all hopes.
Under Nasreddine, the devils were a little bit better, which may be due to the fact that they got a little bit more luck than anything else. It's worth noting, however, that the Devils have had one point more than the Arizona Coyotes they moved Hall to since the Hall deal on December 16.
Nasreddine let the Devils play .500 before a hard road trip before their farewell caused a worse record. There are still big problems on the blue line and in goal (until MacKenzie Blackwood adapts), but by getting the Devils close to 0.500, Nasreddine is trying to stay out of the season and move from interim coach to head coach.
Senior writer Ryan Dixon and NHL editor Rory Boylen always give 110%, but never rely on clichés when podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun, and a varied set of hockey voices to report on Canada's most popular game.
Under Jim Montgomery: 18-11-3
Under Rick Bowness: 9-6-1
The stars can be a difficult team. They run hot and cold and can be streaky, although the swings overall weren't as wild as last season. But they are still there. After Dallas won a single game in the first nine games of the season, some wondered if Montgomery would be in the hot seat. Then they won 14 of their next 16 and everyone looked good again.
However, on December 10, two days after the victory over the islanders, Montgomery was released out of the blue, not because of a performance on the ice, but because of "unprofessional behavior". Almost a month later, Montgomery got an alcohol abuse program in a residential dorm.
However, the stars are a well-coordinated team, and after they promoted assistant Rick Bowness with an interim head coach day, they just continued to chug. Dallas played nine road games under Bowness, won six of them and was almost as good at home. Her longest loss was only two games.
However, they allowed more goals than they scored under Bowness, and this is not the only potentially problematic statistic that can be kept in mind. Where Dallas scored the most dangerous odds at 5 against 5 under Montgomery, he ranked 20th under Bowness. No matter what big names you see in the lineup, make no mistake that the offense is not the main strength of this team.
They have an impressive team defense, which is at the heart of their success from last season, and a few good network experts. As long as this basis remains, the stars remain a candidate for the trophy. The offense with all his weapons should come.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Under Peter DeBoer: 15-16-2
Under Bob Boughner: 6-9-2
Does anyone really believe that coaching is the main reason (or, hell, even a marginal reason) why sharks fall off their podium this season? Remember, this is a team that lost Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist from his striker unit, did nothing to improve his depth problems on the blue line, and returned with the same two goals that it did Team led to a league-worst bailout percentage last season.
It's not that we don't think GM Doug Wilson can turn them over in a year or two. After all, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl seem to follow Logan Couture as younger differentiators in a very natural way. But there is still a lot to do.
Boughner was injured and given the interim day after DeBoer was released. A hot series from Aaron Dell, in which he took over No. 1 in January, saved San Jose's goalkeeper numbers from looking so bad. We believe that this is only a limited time offer. The Sharks lost their last three games before leaving, two of which Dell started, and conceded 14 goals. This is who San Jose is right now, and there's no coaching change that could fix the problem.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then tell the audience everything about what they heard and what they think about it.
Under Peter Laviolette: 19-15-7
Under John Hynes: 3-3-0
Very small sample and too early to tell if Hynes is getting this team back on their feet, but for Laviolette, the writing was off to a slow start this year after a playoff exit in the first round in 2019 Wall. The team's powerplay stayed close to last place in the table after being last dead in 2018/19, while the penalty took a significant step back into the bottom third.
Nashville scores the third most frequent shots per game in the league. Despite the seemingly sufficient attacking power of the strikers, the team scored the ninth lowest high risk chances this season under Laviolette. They only rely heavily on their Blueliner to provoke offense, which is not ideal in today's NHL.
The third row, led by Nick Bonino, has had a great year, but the drivers (Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene) couldn't make big sums. Defender Roman Josi leads the team with 16 points.
This measure has not yet changed under Hynes.
It should be noted that Pekka Rinne also declined sharply at the age of 37 and saved only 0.899 percent, although Nashville's defense remains one of the tougher outfits in the league to get good chances against her. Had Rinne managed to continue its upswing in recent years, the team might have solved some of the offensive problems and Laviolette would still be responsible.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Under Gerard Gallant: 24-19-6
Under Peter DeBoer: 1-0-1
When we looked at a few possible next stops for Gallant after Vegas released him last week, we found that Vegas was largely held back by bad luck this season. With a little better shooting and saving percentages, they can currently run away with the Pacific Division given the team's strong underlyings.
In just two games under former rival DeBoer, we cannot determine what has changed or where this is going. A win in Ottawa and a defeat in Montreal are all we saw, but for a team that was in place two years before the Stanley Cup final and one year before an incomprehensible breakdown like in any other universe Victory in the first round.
This is a well-composed team that does not surprise anyone with a stronger track than we have seen so far.