NHL Coaches On The Hot Seat; Who Will Be The First To Go?

NHL Coaches On The Hot Seat; Who Will Be The First To Go?
© USA Today

Hello again, gambling.com readers! American Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and surprisingly, no NHL coach has been fired yet. Speculation has risen to a near fever pitch at times, but all 32 bench bosses are still with their current teams.

That doesn’t mean several head coaches aren’t on the hot seat. Some coaches are here as the heat on their team’s performance, or lack thereof has warranted it. Some are in this position because of their decision-making. It can be a combination of both.

Is everyone ready to fire things up a little more? Let’s go!

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Dallas Eakins - Anaheim Ducks

Dallas Eakins went from a decent week to another disaster, as Anaheim has lost three straight games and looked increasingly disjointed every time out. 

The Ducks have allowed a league-high 82 goals on the season and now have a -32-goal differential. No surprise, Anaheim is now 5-13-1, giving the team the dubious honor of having the worst record in the league. Pat Verbeek knew things would be bad, but not this bad. 

D.J. Smith - Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators were starting to snap out of their funk. Winning two of three games and a convincing win over Buffalo seemed to buoy some hopes. Then, this week reared its ugly head.

The Senators’ management has seen enough meetings from the players and themselves. D.J. Smith looks to be on thin ice here. After consecutive 5-1 losses, things are getting progressively uglier. 

From the top of the organization, Ottawa keeps saying the right things. Let’s see what happens next. Actions have been slow in coming, and not even the return of Artem Zub could help defensively. The clock is ticking in Ottawa, as Smith may be the first coach to get fired.

Bruce Boudreau - Vancouver Canucks

Bruce Boudreau and the Vancouver Canucks are feeling more and more like a yo-yo. They are up and down and all over the place. For all the positivity of winning a couple of games, all it takes is another blown multiple-goal lead, and everything goes to pot. 

The problem is Vancouver still needs to get healthy. Thatcher Demko had one very nice performance against Los Angeles but collapsed against the Vegas attack (lost 4-2 lead). At some point, your star goaltender has to stand up and deliver. Defensive breakdowns and discipline lapses are still plenty. At what point do the coach and staff take the blame for that?

Jim Rutherford and management have to be considering a move of some sort. Right? Maybe? 

Dean Evason - Minnesota Wild

Now, Dean Evason keeps seeing Minnesota sputter around. One night, the Wild cannot score goals at all. The next, Minnesota scores and cannot stop the opposition. They lost to Nashville by a 2-1 score and then against Pittsburgh 6-4. As hard as it is to believe, Minnesota is 7-8-2 on the season. Thankfully, the team played just once in the last five days. 

Minnesota’s 54 goals against are not so bad. That said, scoring 48 goals is unexpected. Consistency and depth scoring is vital, but the penalty kill again is still susceptible to bad games. Worse, their shooting percentage is just 8.7%. The league average is just about 10%. 

What is next in Minnesota? The clock is ticking! 

Brad Larsen - Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets, for better or worse, have started to play better lately. Columbus is 4-1-1 in their last six games. Injuries to Elvis Merzlikins, Zach Werenski, and others have made the team play better. Younger players have been able to assume roles, and maybe that was just needed.

A change in mental outlook seems to have helped. Sometimes, the youth shall lead them as Larsen’s seat gets a little cooler. 

That is all for now. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! See you next week, and yes, thanks for reading!