It seems that Rick Tocchet’s days as the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes could be numbered. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that there is growing speculation that Tocchet and the ’Yotes will part ways this off-season. Tocchet’s contract expires at the end of the season and Dreger does not believe that it will be extended. If not for the NHL’s expanded playoff structure last season, Tocchet would have failed to make the playoffs in each of his four seasons as the bench boss in Arizona. The team was statistically eliminated from contention this season with last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings, marking the end of what at one time looked like a promising playoff push. However, this is the third consecutive season that the ’Yotes have remained in the playoff picture until the very end of the season. Last year, it earned them a play-in series berth which the team turned into an upset win over the Nashville Predators and a first-round match-up with the Colorado Avalanche. Considering that Tocchet took over a team that finished last in the Pacific Division in his first season, three years of fringe contention and a play-in series win is far from failure for the veteran coach. Dreger does not definitively state that the separation is a unilateral decision by Arizona and it could be that this is an amicable breakup coming between Tocchet and the team. A highly-regarded assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins before joining the Coyotes, Tocchet should have no problem finding a job this summer and it could be that both sides equally want a fresh start.
- Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green is still waiting for his contract extension. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that a resolution is expected to come before the end of the season – which for the Canucks is still almost two weeks away – but he adds that there has not been any change to the status quo of late. Green, like Tocchet, took over a struggling team in 2017-18 and has improved the group, including finishing third in the Pacific Division last season and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. While the current campaign has not gone as planned, with Vancouver on the verge of statistical elimination even with a number of games in hand on their North Division competitors, the organization is happy with Green and LeBrun notes that there continues to be mutual interest in a new multi-year deal. With that said, Green is among the bottom-third of coaches in terms of compensation and is seeking a raise, but LeBrun reports that the Canucks have not improved their offer recently. If the two sides truly want to get a deal done before the end of the regular season, they need to get to work.
- Rod Brind’Amour is another coach who is awaiting a contract extension and there is little doubt that the leader of the President’s Trophy favorites will get a new, long-term deal. However, Dreger notes that the Hurricanes want to get the new deal done before the postseason, which leaves little time to work out the details. Brind’Amour has previously stated that he wants all of his fellow coaches and support staff to also have new deals finalized before he inks his own deal, so the Carolina Hurricanes have a number of negotiations to complete over the next week or two.