Barry Trotz and Jim Montgomery Could Land New Gigs Soon
When it comes to hiring NHL coaches odds, the first two moves in what should be a wild offseason in the NHL coaching hiring department have already been finalized.
It started when the Montreal Canadiens removed the interim tag from Martin St. Louis and on Tuesday, the Vegas Golden Knights hired Bruce Cassidy less than a week after Cassidy was fired by the Boston Bruins. That leaves as many as seven jobs to be filled depending on whether the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks decide to give the job to their interim head coaches betting odds.
One of the big names was removed from the equation with the hiring of Cassidy. Barry Trotz, Jim Montgomery, Pete DeBoer, Jeff Blashill, and Travis Green are some of the names being mentioned. Trotz has been mentioned as an option in Winnipeg. It is uncertain what to make of Joel Quenneville, who coached Chicago to three Stanley Cup titles. His lack of action after sexual assault claims against his former video coach Brad Aldrich led to the end of his time with the Panthers. He would need to be reinstated before landing another job.
There was a report by hockey insider Elliotte Friedman that the top candidates in Boston are Montgomery, Jay Leach, and Nate Leaman. Montgomery is a former star at the University of Maine, Leach spent five seasons as the head coach of the Bruins’ top minor-league team before leaving to become an assistant coach with the expansion Seattle Kraken. Leaman has 12 winning seasons over the last 16 years at Union and Providence. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reported that John Tortorella has been offered the Flyers’ job.
More than any other sport, coaches get chance locations at an alarming rate, so many of the coaches who were let go during the 2021-22 season could very well end up being behind the bench of another team during the upcoming season.
Here is a look at the open jobs.
2021-22 record: 51-26-5 (lost to Carolina in the first round of the playoffs)
This is a dangerous job even though the Bruins have made the playoffs six seasons in a row. Selke Trophy-winning center Patrice Bergeron will be 37 before the start of next season, Brad Marchand recently turned 34 and there was a report that star winger David Pastrňákis is not a fan of general manager Don Sweeney – this could become an issue when he becomes a free agent after the 2022-23 season. The NHL coaches on the market might consider a buyer beware sign until they know what Bergeron’s intentions are.
The Bruins took a step back when David Krejci opted to return to Europe and one has to wonder where the goals come from when Bergeron and Marchand hang up their skates. Marchand, Taylor Hall, and Charlie Coyle are under contract through at least the 2024-25 season, but the other forwards could become free agents after next season at the latest.
The good news is that Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, and Brandon Carlo give the Bruins three defensemen in their 20s to build around while goalie Jeremy Swayman looks like the real deal.
The Bruins habit of trading away first-round picks to make deadline deals in pursuit of another Stanley Cup title is going to catch up to them at some point.
2021-22 record: 46-30-6 (lost to Calgary in the first round of the playoffs)
The decision by Rick Bowness to walk away opened up an intriguing job for NHL coaches.
Sure, six of the top 15 scorers from a season ago are 32-year-old or older. That includes leading scorer Joe Pavelski who will turn 38 in less than a month.
There are some talented players to build around led by forwards Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, defenseman Miro Heiskanen and goalie Jake Oettinger. With his recent injury history, it is easy to forget that Tyler Seguin is only 30.
Detroit Red Wings
2021-22 record: 32-40-10 (missed the playoffs)
This could be the best job out there right now among the available NHL coaches. No, the Red Wings won’t be making a Stanley Cup run during the 2022-23 season, but none of the teams looking for a head coach has more young talent than Detroit.
Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond both made a huge impact last season. Fellow recent top-10 picks Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen could be on the verge of realizing their tremendous potential. Detroit’s top six scorers were 26 or younger last season led by Dylan Larkin.
This job will need to be filled by somebody able to deal with some inevitable growing pains with so many young players likely to fit into key roles.
There are no impending free agents of note until the end of the 2022-23 season.
2021-22 record: 25-46-11 (missed the playoffs)
With Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Sean Couturier up front, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim on defense, and Carter Hart in goal, there are some pieces to build around.
Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, Cam York, Bobby Brink, and Owen Tippett are part of the next wave of players to earn regular roles with the Flyers. The Flyers tried a little bit of everything with recent hires, bringing in a college coach (Dave Hakstol) followed by a veteran NHL coach (Alain Vigneault). If the deal with Tortorella gets done, his combustible personality and the aggressive Philadelphia media could be an interesting mix, to say the least.
2021-22 record: 39-32-11 (missed the playoffs)
This is another really good situation for a coach to jump at.
Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Nikolaj Ehlers have team-friendly deals for the next 2-to 4 years. A decision will need to be made on unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny. The defensive group is all under contract as is elite goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
The new coach figures to give forward Cole Perfetti and defenseman Ville Heinola extended roles after they were drafted in the first round in 2019 and 2020.
About Those Interim Coaches
Florida won the President’s Trophy with Brunette recording 51 of the team’s 58 wins during the regular season. While teams cut loose coaches with impressive records, Brunette has been an assistant with the team since the 2019-20 season before taking over as the interim head coach early in the 2021-22 campaign.
The Panthers will have to deal with nine players who are restricted free agents, but when the 2022-23 season begins, the Panthers will be one of the leading title contenders.
It is a different deal in Chicago. The front office ruffled the feathers of some of the established stars when 23-year-old winger Brandon Hagel was traded away. All the assistant coaches are gone leading to speculation that King’s time at the helm of the Blackhawks is running short.
Both goalies are unrestricted free agents but other than that, the core group is under contract.Follow us on Twitter