With the NHL regular season coming to an end next Saturday Night, it is time to think about which coaches could potentially be fired.
Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers: Despite signing a two-year contract extension with the Rangers during the middle of the 2016-2017, it is possible the New York Rangers decide to go in a different direction after the season. The Rangers are going to go through a rebuilding process and I am not sure if Vigneault will be the guy leading this team in the near future. Lindy Ruff certainly won’t be the new head coach if Vigneault is gone.
Doug Weight, New York Islanders, The Islanders have been a major disappointment in the 2017-2018 season. They were supposed to be a playoff team, but they will be on the outside looking in for the second consecutive season. The New York Islanders have had goaltending and defensive problems all year. In order for John Tavares stick around, they are going to have to make coaching and general manager changes this offseason, or they can kiss him goodbye since Tavares is a free agent.
Bill Peters, Carolina Hurricanes: This will be interesting how the Hurricanes decide Peters fate. If Carolina feels they have another level to get to and Peters is not taking them to it, then the Hurricanes will probably fire him. If they feel goaltending is the issue, then they will decide to keep him. Carolina will finish the season once again on the outside looking in and the Hurricanes have not made the playoffs since the 2008-2009 season. Carolina would be one of the best jobs available if Peters is let go. Maybe they would hire Doug Weight since he played there, if the Islanders decided to fire him. How about the possibility of him as the general manager and Pittsburgh Penguins assistant Mark Recchi as the head coach.
John Hynes, New Jersey Devils: Hynes is in his third season as the Devils coach and he has gotten them within grasp of making it to the postseason for the first time since the 2011-2012 season. However, he has to becareful that New Jersey doesn’t somehow miss the postseason. If the Devils do miss the postseason, it is most likely Hynes will be canned. If New Jersey makes it, then he will be safe. If the Devils job were to get opened up, it would probably be snatched in a second because of the promising young players they have in Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier, along with veteran caliber players like Taylor Hall, Marcus Johannson, Kyle Palmieri, etc.
Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals: It is very rare a coach who has a very good team is in the hot seat. Trotz’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is going to depend on how far the Washington Capitals go in the playoffs. If they are a first-round exit, I am not sure if they will keep him around. If they go to the second-round or go to at least the conference finals, I think the Capitals will keep him around.
Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens haven’t had a very good season and Julien’s system hasn’t worked well in Montreal. The Canadiens have only scored 192 goals so far this season and they have given up 243 goals so far this season. Montreal needs to start a rebuild process and they need a different voice behind the bench. Julien is 58 years old and a younger guy would suit better for them. It doesn’t help that Montreal signed goaltender Carey Price to a 8-year deal worth $84 million. His contract will expire after the 2025-2026 season.
Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings: Blashill made it to the playoffs in his first season with the Detroit Red Wings, but he will have Detroit missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Detroit isn’t used to missing the postseason after making it 27 years in a row. Blashill is going to probably get another chance at redemption next season, unless management decides otherwise. The Red Wings aren’t far away as people think they are and maybe that’s why they will give Blashill another shot.
Todd McLellan, Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers had expectations heading into the season after making it to the playoffs in 2016-2017. Edmonton was one win away last season from heading to the conference finals. McLellan will be the downfall guy for the Oilers disappointing season, but the one to blame for this season is general manager Peter Chiarelli. He messed up chemistry with this team from a season ago. Chiarelli decided to let Benoit Pouliot walk in the offseason and trade Jordan Eberle in the offseason, which proved to be costly. He also traded away Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu at the trade deadline. If McLellan gets fired, so should Chiarelli. McLellan shouldn’t lose his job, but he will because of the mess Chiarelli left for him in the 2017-2018 season.