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After the many offseason changes, there are no coaches left to fire

October 18, 2022, 4:09 PM ET [7 Comments]
Kevin Allen
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The calm has come after the storm in the NHL coaching community.

Ten NHL teams changed coaches this offseason. That comes after the NHL brought in eight new coaches in 2021. When you consider there are some relatively safe coaches like Jon Cooper, Mike Sullivan and Stanley Cup winner Jared Bednar, we might not see many coaching changes this season.

You can tell this may be a down year for coach firings because Toronto Sheldon Keefe has the best odds (+650) for getting fired first this season. Do you really see him getting fired with the offensive firepower that team has? That team will win some games in the regular-season.

But when you look at the list, you can only see a few coaches (Dave Hakstol, Lindy Ruff and Dallas Eakins) whose teams might be weak enough to cost them their job.

This is a league that likes to fires coaches. The Edmonton Oilers have had eight different coaches since 2010. The Dallas Stars have had seven. In 2019-20, the NHL fired 15 coaches. That's almost half of league coaches.

But now the NHL has changed so many coaches over the past couple of years that we may not see many in-season changes this season. The coaches simply haven't been around long enough to lose enough games to be fired.

The rest of the Notebook:

2. Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews haven't asked for a trade and he's not currently not trying to trade them. Davidson told the Chicago media he would cross that bridge when he comes it. Given that the rebuilding Blackhawks can turn Kane into multiple assets, they would be advised to make a deal sooner rather than later. Injuries are always a risk in this league.

3. Larry Brooks of the New York Post points out that trading disgruntled defenseman Nils Lundqvist to Dallas gave the Rangers a second first-round draft. That could make them the favorite in the pursuit of Kane. You will recall that Kane and Panarin had strong chemistry when they played together in Chicago.

4. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman talking about the Atlantic Division and Red Wings' playoff chances:
"But for me to talk about the playoffs now, it’s so far off.As we were talking about our division, today, not knowing what’s going to happen, you’d say probably Toronto, Tampa and Florida, there’s the three teams in our division we expect to make the playoffs. Pick whichever three in the Metro. Then the rest of us are competing for two Wild Card spots. That’s a real challenge. I’m hoping we’re there, but time will tell.

5. The NHL's current salary cap, set this season at $82.5 million per team, wasn't the league's first salary cap. On Sept. 22, 1934, 88 years ago today, the league's owners voted to cap a team's player payroll at $62,500 for 1935-36 season. The limit for player salaries was $7,000.

6. The Boston Bruins are a challenging read this season, only because of their injury situation. Their season could be undermined if the injuries cause a bumpy start. But if they are able to power through the injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand in particular, they could be as strong as they were last season.

7. If you are a fantasy player, or love dynamic lines, you should be excited about the possibility that Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine will play on the same line in Columbus. Gaudreau led the NHL in even-strength points last season. Laine put up 41 points in 35 games after Jan. 27.

8. How important is goals-against in determining NHL success? Last season, the bottom 13 teams in goals-against didn't make the playoffs and the Edmonton Oilers were the only NHL team ranked in the bottom 20 in GAA to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs.

9. Tomorrow, Sept. 23, is the 30th anniversary of Manon Rheaume playing in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues. She gave up two goals on nine shots in a period of work. This summer, the Los Angeles Kings hired Rheaume as a hockey operations and prospect adviser.

10. Keep asking myself two questions about the New York Islanders: How did they miss the playoffs with Ilya Sorokin owning a 2.40 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and seven shutouts? Teams with goalies boasting those numbers usually make the playoffs. And how much better can the Islanders offense be if they get more freedom to be creative? It's going to be the same players they had last season.

11. Jason Robertson is not in the Dallas Stars camp because he doesn't have a contract. He scored 41 goals last season and he's an RFA. The Stars have $6.3 million left under the salary cap to re-sign their most important forward. That's bad math for this situation. That's not enough to get him signed to a long-term deal. Would guess they would like a long-term deal. Are the Stars trying to open up some space?

12. When you are talking best American goalies all-time, don't forget about the Ben Bishop whose career was ended by injury. (He is on the Buffalo Sabres' roster). Bishop has the best save percentage (.921) and goals-against average (2.32) among American goalies with 400 or more appearances. He is also seventh with 33 shutouts.

13. If Kings goalie Jonathan Quick earns 15 wins this season, he passes John Vanbiesbrouck to become the second-winningest American-born goalie. He needs 33 wins to get to 392 for his NHL career. That would allow him to pass Ryan Miller to become the No.1 American in wins.

14. The New York Islanders started training camp with Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov as a defensive pairing. Intriguing.

15. Happy Birthday Mike Richter. He turned 55 today. The long-time New York Rangers standout is one of six American-born goalies to post 300 NHL wins. He helped the Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994 and then led the Americans to the World Cup of Hockey title in 1996. He was MVP of that tournament. He was on the U.S. team that captured silver medal at 2002 Olympics. He had his number retired by the Rangers. He was ranked No. 3 in the book ranking the Rangers' greatest player. He won the Lester Patrick Award and was elected to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
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