- Six NHL coaches have exited their roles since the end of the 2022-23 regular season.
- Craig Berube and Mike Sullivan top the list of who may be the next to go.
The 2022-23 NHL season is over, and there are a range of head coaches feeling the heat.
On Jan. 22, the Vancouver Canucks officially relieved Bruce Boudreau of his duties, making him the first head coach fired during the 2022-23 season. Despite the Canucks’ disappointing performance, 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.
The playoffs are finished, all eyes are on next season’s NHL odds, and the inevitable offseason head coach changes have begun.
On April 14, the Anaheim Ducks announced they wouldn’t be renewing Dallas Eakins’ contract, and the same day, Peter Laviolette parted ways with the Washington Capitals. Just a day later, Brad Larsen was fired from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and on May 1, Darryl Sutter was dismissed from the Calgary Flames. On May 6, Gerard Gallant parted ways with the New York Rangers, and on May 30, John Hynes was dismissed by the Nashville Predators.
So which NHL coaches could be the next to go?
NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat
Craig Berube — St. Louis Blues
There are teams that did worse in 2022-23 than the Blues, but St. Louis certainly underperformed. They finished the season 23rd in the league with a record of 37-38-7 — perfectly mediocre.
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.
“We had tons of chances… Power play didn’t click good enough to win us the hockey game, that’s probably the bottom line. And give credit to their goalie too, he was sharp.”
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 8, 2023
This is Berube’s fourth season behind the bench in St. Louis, having been appointed interim head coach in November 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.
Mike Sullivan — Pittsburgh Penguins
The 2022-23 season is the first time the Penguins have missed the playoffs since 2005-06, and I won’t be surprised if it results in a change behind Pittsburgh’s bench.
Sullivan was named head coach of the Penguins on December 12, 2015, after Mike Johnston was fired, and he promptly led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. The Penguins then continued their playoff streak, advancing to the postseason every season from 2018 to 2022, but the team only made it to the second round once (2018).
The Penguins ended the 2022-23 season with a record of 40-31-11, which certainly isn’t terrible, but is it good enough for the team’s owners? Consistently getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs is hardly satisfying, and now failing to advance entirely will surely point some fingers at Sullivan.
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