Another season is incoming, and another batch of coaches are on the NHL hot seat. There has already been a ton of turnover amongst NHL coaches lately, as 13 of the league’s 32 coaches have been with their team for less than one year. But there are always a few coaches we can anticipate are on the NHL hot seat and very close to being replaced. Here are my picks for NHL coaches on the hot seat heading into the 2022-23 season.
Entering his fourth season as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe has so far been unable to get the team over the hump and out of the first round of the playoffs. Despite excellent performances in the regular season, with a 116-50-19 record (.678 points percentage), the team’s record drops significantly come playoff time, down to 8-11 (a .421 points percentage).
Because the Maple Leafs have been good in the regular season, we may not hear much about Keefe’s job being on the line until next offseason if the Leafs lose out in the playoffs early again. But if the goaltending experiment doesn’t work out and the team starts slow, GM Kyle Dubas may need to make a change quickly in order to salvage the season within the team’s tight competitive window. As a result, Keefe is squarely on the NHL hot seat.
In a similar situation to Keefe, Rod Brind’Amour has been stuck for a few seasons trying to get the Carolina Hurricanes past the second round of the playoffs. After a couple of seasons where he and the team greatly overperformed and surpassed expectations, they are now typically a Cup contender year-in, year-out but struggling to break through to the Conference Finals again.
Brind’Amour might be safe from the NHL hot seat during the season, but if the Hurricanes falter in the playoffs again, the team may start looking to a coaching change to get them deeper into a Cup run.
The Anaheim Ducks are starting to turn the corner in their rebuild as their flesh out their roster with some incredibly talented prospects. We saw the Ducks at their best for the first part of last season as they were in a playoff spot in the weaker Pacific Division. But they really trailed off by the end of the season and missed the playoffs.
Expectations will be rising on the Ducks this season. With key additions like Ryan Strome and John Klingberg around, and another year of development for the core group of prospects, Anaheim should be in the running for a wild card spot. Will Dallas Eakins be able to handle the growth of this team? If things don’t start off well, a coaching change may be imminent in Anaheim.
Even though expectations on Dave Hakstol’s Seattle Kraken were low entering their first season in the NHL, they somehow still managed to disappoint. With 60 points the Kraken finished third last in the league. The offense was sparse, finishing bottom five in goals for. The goaltending was porous, finishing bottom 10 in goals against in large part due to poor goaltending. It really put a damper on the excitement surrounding the new franchise.
With an additions like Oliver Bjorkstrand, Matthew Beniers, and possibly Shane Wright, we would hope that the offensive side of things gets better. But if the Kraken get off to another slow start where the same issues, like lack of offense and poor goaltending, keep costing them games, GM Ron Francis may find himself running out of patience and needing to overhaul the coaching staff.
Peter Laviolette was brought in to coach the Washington Capitals to help extend the end of their Cup window while the current core is still around. He has kept this team competitive. In the regular season. They’ve put up a .641 points percentage on their way to two consecutive playoff berths. But the playoff record is another story, as the Capitals have gone 3-8 in two quick first round exits.
The Capitals are in a tricky situation to start the season with Nicklas Backstrom potentially out and injured for an indefinite period of time and Tom Wilson missing the first few months. With Washington’s competitive window quickly closing as their core ages and injures out of the NHL, the team might be quick to make a move if they get off to a slow start.
With the amount of coaching turnover recently, there aren’t a whole lot of obvious choices like we’ve had in recent years. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see speculation and coaching changes as teams get off to a slow start, especially if they are supposed to be competitive. And that is where most of these coaches on the NHL hot seat are from right now.
Which coaches do you think are on the NHL hot seat this season? Drop a comment down below!
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