NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat: All-Star Break Edition

NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat: All-Star Break Edition
© USA Today

January is near its end, and for those who engage in NHL betting, the All-Star Break comes next week. 

Yes, coaches can relax the first weekend of February as the best players take the ice in South Florida. Will there be news? Yes. However, most of it will be around what players might be on the move. 

For coaches, it's all about the hot seat. So let's check out the latest update of our list.

Darryl Sutter - Calgary Flames

Again, this Calgary team is more than worse off because of personnel losses. Let’s face facts. Jonathan Huberdeau is going to be a walking headache for Darryl Sutter. The playoff bubble is very real this season. No fewer than five teams are battling for three playoff spots. The two teams that miss the playoffs may see their coaches walk the plank. 

They Flames have had a few chances to get off the bubble, but they just lay a stinker. Thursday night saw them lose at home to the Chicago Blackhawks by four goals. Yes, things happen. However, it is the Blackhawks. These games occur too often not to have us concerned about the future of one, Darryl Sutter. 

Paul Maurice - Florida Panthers

The longer Florida stays around .500, the more likely Paul Maurice is gone, either at some point this season or in the offseason. Consecutive losses dropped the Panthers further away from the playoff cutoff line. Could a team like Washington drop? Yes. Is that a wise strategy? No. 

Now, what can general manager Bill Zito do here? The problem is that Florida’s core players are having issues staying healthy. Goaltenders are hurt, Aleksander Barkov had a minor issue, and even Aaron Ekblad survived a scare. Maurice is walking on eggshells. 

Dallas Eakins - Anaheim Ducks

Dallas Eakins and the Ducks are no longer the worst team in the NHL. We will get to who is in a bit.  Anaheim even strung together wins this week for what feels like the first time in forever. This team is still horrific defensively, but it can win if John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz can stand on their head. 

Anaheim is contending for the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. Everyone knows it. For better or for worse, it looks like Eakins will survive into the offseason.

D.J. Smith - Ottawa Senators

Ottawa continues to wallow in mediocrity. The Senators, behind a 4-6 stretch, are back below .500 once again. Pierre Dorion and D.J. Smith may have their job tied together. 

This sets the stage for potentially two moves. Is Ottawa just waiting for new ownership? It seems like even the players are now, too. 

Brad Larsen - Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are now the worst team in the NHL. The Blue Jackets are 15-30-3 with a conference-worst -61 goal differential. 

Even when Columbus wins, it loses. The Blue Jackets won a game, then watched every other bottom-feeding team win on Thursday night. Even the Arizona Coyotes blew out St. Louis 5-0. 

The more significant concern in Columbus is the lack of development. Larsen seems content with doing much ado about nothing. Younger players are suffering, and it looks like talent like Vladislav Gavrikov will be a trade casualty.

To think, Johnny Gaudreau is happy in Columbus.

Craig Berube - St. Louis Blues

St. Louis has fallen off again, and the rock bottom point may have been getting shut out by the Arizona Coyotes. That is three straight losses to drop the Blues back to .500. With so many teams to pass, Craig Berube cannot feel all that safe right now.

The Blues are about to move laterally this trade deadline to set up for the future. There is a window for improvement, but does it include Berube? Stay tuned.