NHL training hot seat: Seven NHL coaches who may be at risk of losing their jobs

NHL training hot seat: Seven NHL coaches who may be at risk of losing their jobs

The 2022-23 National Hockey League season has been in full swing for about a month now, and we’re starting to get an idea of ​​what teams are fantasizing about and who the contenders are. As clubs struggle out of the gate, it heralds the question – which coaches are on the hot seat?

While there have been plenty of pleasant surprises this season, like Devils, Flyers and Kraken, there have been a number of disappointing starts. Some teams that had aspirations of the Cup seem a far cry from a club that can lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.

However, there is still a large part of the season, and a change of training may be the spark some organizations need in order to correct the ship’s course. We only saw it four seasons ago when the Blues fired Mike Yeo and replaced him with Craig Beerup (more on that later) in November. The move paid dividends as Beerup was able to lead the team to the playoffs and by the end of the season, St. Louis won the Stanley Cup.

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Let’s break down the seven coaches who may be at risk of losing their jobs early in the NHL season. There are disagreements about who will be the next coach looking for a new job.

NHL buses on the hot seat

Mike Sullivan, Penguins (+800)

Tenant: December 12 2015

a necklace: Signed during the 2026-27 season

Hot seat scale: Fabulous

It feels like the sky is falling in Pittsburgh. After an exciting start to the season, the team lost seven consecutive competitions, six of those losses came in the regulations. The penguins are late in a very competitive metro section and they have to figure things out quickly.

However, the problem is not with the coach or his crew. Sullivan is one of the coaches with the longest tenure in the league, and is currently in his eighth season with the Penguins. He helped bring two Stanley Cup trophies to town and brought the club to the playoffs in every season he was in charge.

The talent is in Pittsburgh and this tough patch will eventually come to an end. Sullivan is a coach too strong to do without, having proven year after year that he can steer the team to success, no matter how many injuries the team has to deal with. Plus, the pens just signed him to a three-year extension this off-season, so Burgh isn’t leaving anytime soon.

Sheldon Cave, Maple Leafs (+292)

Tenant: May 23, 2019

a necklace: Signed during the 2023-24 season

Hot seat scale: Nice

How can a coach of a 7-4-2 team and third in the division run the risk of losing his job? Because it’s Toronto, literally anything and everything that goes on in the organization is put under the microscope.

It wasn’t the start the Maple Leafs had hoped for, as the team finished October in a four-game losing streak that included heavy losses to the ducks and sharks. However, the team responded with three victories over strong opponents and took points in four consecutive matches.

Should Keefe be on the hot seat? Probably not, but this is no ordinary hockey market we are talking about. There are expectations in Toronto, and if the team isn’t performing up to those standards, something has to change, and it’s always easy to point the finger at the coach, especially with a playoff not working out.

John Haynes, Predators (+800)

Tenant: January 7, 2020

a necklace: Signed during the 2023-24 season

Hot seat scale: Average

Every year since Hynes was set in the middle of the 2019-20 season, there’s an extension where the Predators play poorly and Hynes’ name is floated as a potential launch. We’re at this point in the 2022-23 season, as Nashville is 5-7-1 with a record 3-7-1 after sweeping the Sharks in the NHL World Series to start the season.

Nashville’s recipe for success was to rely on Juuse Saros to keep them in matches and hope for wins in the low-goal competitions. But when Saros doesn’t stand on top of it, things are ugly, as an offense averaging 2.62 goals per game just won’t eliminate them.

General manager David Boyle just signed Hynes and his staff during the 2023-24 season, so it’s unlikely that the trigger will be pulled soon after these extensions are distributed. Additionally, Nashville is known as an organization with a long line of coaches. But predators must start winning on a consistent basis for Hynes’ job to be completely safe.

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Craig Beroby, Blues (+141)

Tenant: November 19, 2018

a necklace: Signed during the 2024-25 season

Hot seat scale: Average

Of all the surprises this season, good and bad, none might be more shocking than with the blues. After three straight wins at the start of the year, St. Louis have fallen back eight in a row—all in regulation.

St. Louis ranks 29th in terms of the number of goals allowed per game (3.91) while the offense is last, averaging 2.09 goals per game. The penalty for murder was fifth at 70.8%. Although the majority of the roster came back from the 109-point team last year, it looks like a completely different squad.

The Blues have reached the playoffs every year under Berube, including winning the cup in 2019 after taking charge mid-season. Berube’s dismissal shouldn’t be the first change within the organization, but if results don’t improve soon, St. Louis will have to move somewhere.

Brad Larsen – Blue Jackets (+403)

Tenant: June 10, 2021

a necklace: Signed during the 2023-24 season

Hot seat scale: hot

The Blue Jackets were not expected to be a contender for the trophy, even with the addition of Johnny Goudreau in the off-season. However, the league’s worst record was also not expected to be 3-9-0.

Columbus ranks 31st in both goals scored per game (2.50) and goals allowed per game (4.58). The power game was shocking, with the team only converting two of their chances so far, coming in with a 6.1% success rate, the worst in the NHL.

It’s only Larsen’s second season with the team, and while Columbus exceeded expectations last season, the club is heading in the wrong direction this year. Many were skeptical about hiring Larsen when this happened, and it seems that they may have been right.

DJ Smith, Senators (+450)

Tenant: May 23, 2019

a necklace: Signed during the 2023-24 season (2024-25 option)

Hot seat scale: hot

With additions from Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux and a young Ottawa-based core getting another year of development, the Senators were billed as playoff contenders. A month into the year, the Sens are where they’ve usually been for the past few seasons – towards the bottom of the rankings.

Senators 4-8-0, they lost six consecutive games in regulation. In five of those losses, the defense allowed at least four goals. While the offense scores 3.50 goals per game, the Senators allow 3.67 goals.

General Manager Pierre Dorion recently announced his approval of Smith, saying that no change in training would come. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that GM has had to oppose his earlier comments, and if the senators want the playoffs to take place, Smith may not be the man. He has yet to bring the club beyond the season in his three years as a coach.

Bruce Boudreaux, Canucks (+454)

Tenant: December 5, 2021

a necklace: Signed until 2022-23

Hot seat scale: burning

Ignite the match. There’s a rope attached to Boudreau’s chair that’s wet with gasoline and his head is already on fire. It’s a time bomb waiting to explode in Vancouver.

Boudreaux’s days as a Canucks coach are numbered. When the head of the organization goes out and hits the way the team’s training camp is set up and the regulations currently in place, it’s a sure sign that the club is not happy with the way things are going. Defense in particular was a big problem for the Canucks, allowing 4.00 goals per game, the third lowest mark in the NHL.

The veteran coach would have had a short leash this season. He has not been appointed by the current regime of Jim Rutherford and Patrick Alvin and has not been offered an extension this summer. Between comments made by Rutherford recently and a disappointing 4-6-3 record, Boudreaux’s magic has run thin in Vancouver.

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