Many teams have found a new head coach for the upcoming campaign following the 2014-2015 season, but will these new faces be the solution to their problems?
Dave Hakstol – Philadelphia Flyers
Most people thought the Philadelphia Flyers were in the hunt for Mike Babcock, yet on May 18th the Flyers announced their new head coach would be Dave Hakstol. Fans who didn’t follow the NCAA were thinking “Who is this guy?”, but after a quick Google search, Hakstol was a very successful coach at that level. In 2004, he was named North Dakota’s head coach. During his time there, he led the team to the NCAA Frozen Four seven times, yet failed to win. Hakstol was also an 8-time finalist for national coach of the year and ranks 2nd in all-time wins with 260, six wins behind first place coach Jerry York.
Obviously, Hakstol will be lacking experience at the NHL level, but the Flyers general manager Ron Hextall wasn’t going to let that influence his decision. Adam Kimelman sat down with the Flyers GM. “I wasn’t going to choose the coach that was the people’s choice, the popular choice,” Hextall said. “I was going to pick the coach that I felt like for this franchise from today, next year and moving forward was the right coach. And Dave is the right coach for this franchise at this point.”
Could Hakstol be the guy to turn the Flyers around ?
Mike Babcock – Toronto Maple Leafs
What a shocking surprise. Or not. On May 20th, Mike Babcock was announced new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs after receiving an 8 year, $50 million dollar contract, making him the highest paid coach in NHL history. This franchise is in desperate need of a fix. The Leafs are the NHL team with the highest value, estimated at 1.3 billion according to Forbes magazine, yet they don’t appear that way when they hit the ice. That is why Babcock will be a key factor in getting this team back on track.
Over his 10 year tenure with the Red Wings, Babcock has never missed the playoffs and has won one Stanley Cup (In 2008 against the Pittsburgh Penguins). He has been a fantastic coach, ranking 17th all-time in wins by a coach. He has also won 2 Olympic Gold medals with team Canada in 2010 and 2014. His experience at this level should help the Leafs become a better team next season. His style focuses more on skills and puck possession, so look out for that Leafs fans.
Todd McLellan – Edmonton Oilers
For the past few years, the Edmonton Oilers have been a disappointment. They have gotten numerous first overall picks and have failed to take that next step in the right direction. But the players are not all at fault here. The Oilers staff has been lacking for some time now and with the addition of head coach Todd McLellan and general manager Peter Chiarelli, it’s time for a change in Edmonton. McLellan was known as a great regular season coach with San Jose, but never made it to the Stanley Cup Finals despite having such great teams. Year after year, the Sharks have been a major letdown in the playoffs, and after failing to make said playoffs in 2015, the Sharks and McLellan mutually decided to part ways. Todd went on to coach team Canada at the 2015 World Championships and led them to a Gold medal, he was then announced as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers during the week.
Right now nothing is guaranteed for Edmonton, but things are trending in the right direction.
Peter DeBoer – San Jose Sharks
In his first year with the New-Jersey Devils, DeBoer seemed to be the perfect fit, he had career highs in wins and point totals and led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they eventually lost the Los Angeles Kings. Then, after losing big names like Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and David Clarkson (Former 30-goal scorer in New-Jersey), everything went downhill for DeBoer and the Devils. He was fired and replaced with dual-coaching tandem Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. On May 28th, the San Jose Sharks hired DeBoer to replace Todd McLellan. So I ask, is this a step in the right direction for the Sharks? I hardly think so. Replacing a fantastic regular season coach with someone who had a single good season and went downhill after ? I don’t think this is the right move for San Jose as they have a lot of young talent coming up and DeBoer isn’t really noted for working well with youngsters. Only time will tell if this was a good decision by the Sharks management.
These are the main coaches I wanted to analyze and write about. The upcoming season will be a very interesting one, as many teams will be playing a different style of play with their new coaches leading the way.
Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8