NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat

NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat
© USA Today

With NHL season entering the first week of December and the holiday season upon us, surprisingly, no coaches have been fired. Coaching changes always are of interest to fans and those looking for good NHL betting opportunities that might occur when adjustments are made at the top. 

Speculation has risen to a near fever pitch at times this season, but so far no pink slips have been handed out, though some of the coaching seats are getting warm.

Ready to turn up the heat? Let’s go!

Dallas Eakins, Anaheim Ducks

Dallas Eakins keeps seeing his team get fundamentally worse, yet little has been done. Anaheim has dropped four straight decisions. Worse, the Ducks have allowed a league-high 101 goals on the season.

Currently, Anaheim is 6-16-2, has a -42 goal differential, and their metrics lag behind the worst teams. They are the first team this season to reach 10 games under .500. “Fall Hard For Bedard” does not mean falling flat. Eakins is still safe. 

D.J. Smith, Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators improved some over the last week to keep D.J. Smith’s job somewhat safe. However, the speculation has not stopped in Canada’s capital.

The Senators’ management looks like it is in a “Christmas freeze,” as no moves have been hinted at. They made no move on forward Alex Formenton, who will miss the NHL season, having not signed a contract by the Dec. 1 deadline.

With ownership transitioning into an effort to sell the team, the coach may have more life than anyone thinks. Expect more turbulence, even with names swirling around on a potential Smith replacement.

Darryl Sutter, Calgary Flames

This is a name to watch. If the Calgary Flames continue to hover around .500, does Darryl Sutter, pictured, get nudged upstairs or return to his farm? It is a situation to keep an eye on in Calgary. 

The team's defense has not been good, and the goaltending has been subpar.

Is that enough to warrant a move? Maybe not. However, Calgary expects to be higher in the division standings, and the longer this malaise goes on, the more likely things will start happening.

Bruce Boudreau, Vancouver Canucks

Bruce Boudreau and the Vancouver Canucks are stuck in the same recurring pattern. They win a few, lose a few, and still get inconsistent goaltending. Add a miserable penalty kill and a team that takes too many penalties, and you get a recipe for disaster.

The problem is Vancouver still needs to get healthy. Does Thatcher Demko have to be hurt to be this bad? Inevitably, Spencer Martin is playing more consistently, but he needs to get a run of games.

Jim Rutherford, the team’s president of hockey operations, needs to make some moves.

Dean Evason, Minnesota Wild

Dean Evason seems to be seeing his seat cool down a bit. Minnesota is 6-3-1 in the last 10 games and is at two games over .500. Health and some more consistent goaltending cure quite a few ills.

Though Minnesota has allowed 65 goals, which is not so bad, the team is barely averaging three goals a game. For the Wild, that is low. Maybe trading Kevin Fiala away was a bad idea after all. Evason is not out of the woods. Expectations are much higher, but he can breathe for a little while.  

Brad Larsen, Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets reversed course again and are back to playing that bad brand of hockey that put Brad Larsen on this list in the first place. 

Deployment of ice time, even in a youth movement, has been a head-scratcher. Some media outlets are coming around to the idea that a change may be warranted. So far, there has been zero indication of a change, but the worst team in the East is not getting better like this.

Meanwhile, as these coaches attempt to turn things around, fans and bettors will be watching to see if any changes -- or lack of changes -- will have an impact on teams vying for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

See you next week, and thanks for reading.