NHL Hot Seat: NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat 2022-23

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Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins watches from behind the bench during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif.
(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Mar 14, 2023, 3:44 AM
  • On Jan. 22, Bruce Boudreau became the first NHL head coach fired this season.
  • Dallas Eakins, Craig Berube, and Brad Larsen top the list of who may be the next to go.

The 2022-23 NHL regular season is well underway, and a few head coaches are already feeling the heat. 

On Jan. 22, the Vancouver Canucks officially relieved Bruce Boudreau of his duties, making him the first head coach fired this season. Despite the Canucks’ disappointing performance in 2022-23, Boudreau’s exit was not received well by fans, with the team’s handling of the entire process being particularly scrutinized. Rick Tocchet has stepped up as Boudreau’s replacement, but the fallout of the Canucks’ perceived mistreatment of their former coach remains a touchy topic across the league.

NHL odds have the Canucks as astronomical outsiders to hoist the Stanley Cup (+50000), with the Blue Jackets (+100000) and Ducks (+100000) deemed even more unlikely. Even though the coaches on the hot seat aren’t expected to lead their teams to supremacy, each ownership group expects tangible improvement. If they don’t see it, the following coaches might soon be in the market for another job. 

A slew of NHL teams changed bench bosses last offseason, including Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, San Jose, Vegas, Winnipeg, Nashville, and Chicago (contract extension), basically providing temporary immunity from the hot seat.

So which NHL coaches are feeling the heat?

NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat

Dallas Eakins – Anaheim Ducks

With the Ducks in fourth-last place in the league as of March 14, head coach Dallas Eakins is running on borrowed time. With Eakins in his fourth year at the helm, Anaheim has an abysmal record of 22-35-10.

The Ducks are admittedly still deep in a rebuild, so the fact the team hasn’t made the playoffs in Eakins’ reign isn’t a black mark on the 55-year-old’s coaching resume. The team is led by a talented young core that should be playoff ready in the next couple of seasons, but the question is now about whether or not Eakins will be in Anaheim to see it.

Eakins wasn’t hired by Pat Verbeek, the Ducks’ new GM. He was a carry-over from the previous era and is likely to be an easy cut now that Verbeek wants to appoint a head coach that he hand-selects.

The Ducks are now out of the running to advance to the playoffs, but as the gap between Anaheim and a decent record continues to grow, I’ll be shocked if Eakins is still in charge at the end of the season.

Craig Berube — St. Louis Blues

There are teams doing worse in 2022-23 than the Blues, but St. Louis has certainly underperformed. As of March 14, the team is 24th in the league with a record of 29-32-5.

The Blues have had an up-and-down season from the very start. They opened the season with three wins, lost the next eight games, and then won the next seven. Since then, the team has flirted with the idea of pushing ahead, but they’ve pretty much sat at .500 all season — and they should be doing a lot better.

This is Berube’s fourth season behind the bench in St. Louis, having been appointed interim head coach in Nov. 2018 after the firing of Mike Yeo. That year, he became only the third interim head coach in NHL history to lead his team to a Stanley Cup title, and on Feb. 9, 2022, the Blues signed him to a three-year contract extension, keeping him with the team through the 2024–25 season.

Underperformance has plagued the team all over the ice, from Ryan O’Reilly and Colton Parayko deep in a slump to Jordan Binnington’s underwhelming efforts in net. Regardless, I doubt Berube will be given another season to try and work it out.

Brad Larsen – Columbus Blue Jackets 

This one is a bit less clear-cut than the other two, but I feel like head coach Brad Larsen still need to be mentioned. Currently in last place in the league with a record of 20-38-7, the Blue Jackets are a mess, but are all fingers really pointing at Larsen?

Larsen replaced John Tortorella as the Blue Jackets’ bench boss after seven years as an assistant coach. His first season at the helm saw the team finish 10th in the Eastern Conference — not great, but enough to justify another season. At least, that’s how the management team felt then.

Columbus made a splash by adding Johnny Gaudreau in the summer, immediately raising expectations. Losing Patrik Laine to an elbow injury in the season opener complicated things, but fans still wanted to see decent things from the Blue Jackets. Nobody thought Columbus would be contending for the Stanley Cup this season, but even fans with the most modest expectations have been pretty disappointed so far.

In Larsen’s defense, you only have to take one look at the team’s injury list this season to work out what’s going on here. The head coach has been dealing with terrible luck when it comes to players staying healthy, so there’s admittedly only so much blame that can be placed on his shoulders.

The Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen still have Larsen’s back, so perhaps he’s safe, at least until the end of the season. Still, he’ll need to show quick progress after this injury slump if he wants to remain behind the bench long-term. 

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.