NHL | Coaches wanted | The Press

The coaching waltz is not over in the National Hockey League. In total, 11 drivers have been fired this season (that includes Sheldon Keefe, fired following an all-too-brief spring in Toronto). With all that, there are still four positions to fill… while waiting for the next dismissal.


Posted at 4:11 p.m.

New Jersey Devils

Sheldon Keefe had barely finished packing his boxes in Toronto when rumors of a possible move to New Jersey began. The Devils will do what they want, obviously, but one wonders what they would do with Keefe, incapable of leading an otherwise more talented Toronto club beyond the first round of the playoffs. But the Devils finished last season at 13e rank in the Eastern Conference standings, and Keefe’s season record at the helm of the Leafs –– his teams have never done worse than a .622 average in four full seasons –, is certainly not to be disdained. In New Jersey, on the other hand, the need for a coach demanding methods to allow the team to move forward, and on this subject, the hiring of Keefe, often described as too soft in Toronto, would not solve this problem.

San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO TONY GUTIERREZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Jeff Blashill

There is at least one case settled in California, that of Jim Hiller, to whom the Los Angeles Kings have just granted a contract extension. That leaves the Sharks, who will win about 12 games next season, and who will not participate in the playoffs before 2035, if all goes well. Who will want to get into this mess? That’s a great question. The Sharks could choose the recycling option, as several clubs do, and already, the name of Jeff Blashill, who managed the Detroit Red Wings for seven seasons, has been put forward in this matter. The Sharks could also go the new route, and they have already discussed this possibility with Ryan Warsofky, an assistant with them for the last two seasons. Finally, there is an intriguing name circulating: that of Marco Sturm, himself a former Sharks player, who has just completed his second season at the helm of the Ontario Reign in the American League. If this ever happens, the number of rumors about the imminent arrival of Leon Draisaitl, whom Sturm has already led in international hockey with the German team, could explode the internet.

Seattle Kraken

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PHOTO GENE J. PUSKAR, ARCHIVES ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dan Bylsma

A little further up, we wondered who might want a position in San Jose, and we can ask ourselves the same question right here, in relation to this vacant place behind the Kraken bench. We also note the relative impatience of the management of this team, who fired Dave Hakstol in April, the same man who had been a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy a year earlier. Among the names circulating there, there is mass recycling (Dan Bylsma and Todd McLellan, among others) but also the name of a younger candidate, Jay Leach, who has been an assistant coach in Seattle for three seasons . Keen observers will have already understood that this is the same Leach who played seven games for the Canadiens as a defender in 2009-2010, and who famously declared that he only hoped not to be noticed (“ I wanna be a non-factor “). Just for more quotes like that, we wish he got the job.

Winnipeg Jets

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PHOTO ARCHIVES THE PRESS

Scott Arniel

Without doubt the most difficult position to fill. The Jets finished the season in second place in the Western Conference, on an eight-game winning streak. The club then suffered a very quick elimination in the first round against the Colorado Avalanche, and this failure will undoubtedly take a long time to digest, to go with the retirement of coach Rick Bowness. We guess that the next driver will be hired to win straight away, which will undoubtedly reduce the list of potential candidates. Regardless, the names of Scott Arniel and Dean Evason were put forward, in addition to Todd Nelson, now at the helm of Hershey in the American League. Of the group, it is perhaps Arniel who has a head start, he who has been an assistant coach with the Jets for two seasons. However, we humbly wonder why the name of Claude Julien, whose experience could benefit such a club, is not circulating in this file.

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