The NHL looks like it will finish an entire season without seeing a single coach fired for the first time since expansion in 1967, but there could be a dark lining on that stat coming next week. “Black Monday” as it is being termed could be coming after the final game of the regular season this Sunday, with close to a dozen coaches finding themselves on the hot seat.
In last night’s Insider Trading segment on TSN, Bob McKenzie broke down a list of potential firings that looked like this:
Glen Gulutzan, Calgary Flames
Bill Peters, Carolina Hurricanes
Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks
Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings
Todd McLellan, Edmonton Oilers
Doug Weight, New York Islanders
Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers
Guy Boucher, Ottawa Senators
Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals
Some of these names simply don’t have a contract for next season, including Trotz, who also happens to be the only coach on the list heading to the playoffs. The Capitals have won the Metropolitan Division for the third year in a row, but will be judged entirely on their postseason performance. Washington must find some success past the second round, or there could be a shake up in order starting with the man behind the bench.
The rest of the list is a who’s who of disappointing seasons, with Quenneville sticking out like a sore thumb. Arguably one of the best coaches of all-time, Quenneville’s firing could cause what McKenzie terms a ripple effect throughout the league. Though he doesn’t expand on that idea, many have wondered whether another team would fire their incumbent to have the opportunity to hire Quenneville should he become a free agent, much like the Montreal Canadiens did last season when Claude Julien was let go from Boston.
In New York, while both coaches might not be back it would be for very different reasons. Vigneault has had a lot of regular season success with the Rangers, but as they enter into an unfamiliar rebuild they could want to start with a fresh face behind the bench. For Weight and the Islanders, this season was an abject failure as they tried to woo John Tavares with a trip to the postseason. They won’t get there, and now have to worry about whether their captain and superstar will stick around.
There could be many other names you could suggest for the list, and it is extremely unlikely that all of these will get the boot before the start of 2018-19. You can be sure some changes are coming though, even if it does come after a remarkable season of patience by general managers around the league.