Tracking every available major NHL head coach during the offseason

The NHL head coaching market is going to be a wild one for the 2022 offseason.

While the Stanley Cup playoffs are still ongoing, one of the biggest stories in hockey at the moment is the gargantuan list of head coaches on the market and the team vacancies available. Normally, there are a handful of teams and only a few major names available for coaching positions, but the 2022 offseason will have some surprisingly good coaches looking for jobs.

Currently, there are six teams in the market for a head coach. Those teams include:

  1. Vegas Golden Knights
  2. Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Boston Bruins
  4. Dallas Stars
  5. Winnipeg Jets
  6. Detroit Red Wings

It’s quite likely that list will grow in the weeks to come too. Honestly, the NHL’s head coaching carousel is probably going to be an even bigger watch than the upcoming free agent class, which is saying something.

Here are 11 major NHL head coach candidates to look out for during the 2022 offseason.

AP Photo / Noah K. Murray

Barry Trotz’s firing from the New York Islanders shocked the hockey world back in early May. Sure, the Islanders did not make the playoffs this year, but given the seemingly unusual start of 13 games on the road, their lackluster season makes a bit more sense.

Trotz is by far the biggest fish in this NHL coaching pool, as his suffocating – yet successful – defensive style and overall record of 914-670-168 (with 60 ties to his name too!) Make him quite the attractive pull for a contending team. Plus, he has a Stanley Cup to his name, won with the Capitals not so long ago in 2018.

Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images

Add Bruce Cassidy to the list of surprising head coaches let go by contending teams, as the Boston Bruins parted ways with their six-year bench boss. Cassidy ends his tenure in Boston with a 245-108-46 record, taking the Bruins to the playoffs in all six seasons, with two first round losses, three second round losses, and a loss in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

While I get that the Bruins first round exit against the Hurricanes this year is a disappointing one, I’m not sure why Boston elected to ditch Cassidy after such a successful time with the team. Much like Trotz, Cassidy likely won’t be on the market for long with his resume.

AP Photo / Jeff Chiu, File

Currently, John Tortorella is an analyst for ESPN making harsh critiques about the NHL’s biggest and brightest stars. But previously, Tortorella was the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets who helped the team to four playoff appearances in six seasons. And not only that, he coached the Lightning to a Stanley Cup all the way back in 2004!

After a year away, Tortorella feels like a prime candidate to jump from TV broadcasting back into a head coaching position.

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Previously, Jim Montgomery was head coach of the Stars before he was fired and checked himself into rehab to deal with alcohol abuse. For the last two years, Montgomery has been an assistant coach with the Blues, but his contract is set to expire this summer.

While Montgomery has a limited resume (60-43-10 record with one playoff appearance), he shows promise and is likely to make the jump back to a head coaching gig soon.

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For the first time in franchise history, the Golden Knights missed the playoffs this year and that cost Peter DeBoer his job. In his career, DeBoer has two Stanley Cup Final losses (2012, 2016) and three Conference Final losses (2019, 2020, 2021) to his name, never able to get that elusive Stanley Cup ring quite yet.

In Vegas, DeBoer finished with a 98–50–12 record, quite a successful tenure despite falling short of the playoffs this past season.

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Paul Maurice was the long-time coach of the Jets for nine seasons before recusing himself and resigning in the middle of last year, despite going 13-11-5 with the team. The resignation was an unusual one, with Maurice stating that the team “needed a new voice” and he knew it.

That type of honesty is probably something NHL franchises would admire in a head coaching candidate, and it seems if Maurice wants to coach again a team would be more than happy to snag him.

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NHL fans have not seen Claude Julien since the 2020-21 season, where he was fired from the Canadiens after going 129-123-35 in his four-year tenure there. Julien does have a Stanley Cup win – in 2011 with the Bruins – and recently coached the 2022 Canadian men’s Olympic squad in Beijing.

While Julien hasn’t found much playoff success in his recent coaching tenure, he’s no doubt a name to watch as the NHL coaching search rolls on through the offseason.

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Alain Vigneault’s time in Philadelphia will not be remembered highly by Flyers fans, but he did end his time there with an overall positive record (74-54-19). To be fair to Vigneault too, the Flyers do have much bigger problems than what he could solve as head coach.

Vigneault is another head coach that has had playoff success but has been unable to win the whole thing after losing two Stanley Cup Finals (2011, 2014) in his NHL coaching career.

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Rick Tocchet is currently a studio analyst for NHL on TNT, but that hasn’t stopped his name coming up in rumors for head coaching jobs this offseason. He’s also the only coaching candidate on this list with more career losses than wins, holding a 178-200-60 record in six years.

While not the most high-profile name on the list, Tocchet is a former Flyer and has been linked to the team in recent weeks.

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Given Joel Quenneville’s role as the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks when Kyle Beach was horrifically sexually assaulted in 2010, it’s likely we won’t be seeing him back on an NHL bench any time soon. And rightfully so, as his inaction when told of Beach’s assault did irrevocable harm to the former No. 11 overall pick and also to the others that were assaulted after video coach Brad Aldrich left the team.

Despite all of this, given the NHL’s overall attitudes towards Hockey Men as a whole, do not be surprised if Quenneville’s name is brought up in coaching searches after departing the Panthers this past season.

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Much like Quenneville, Mike Babcock also has controversy swirling around him, as he verbally abused players while coaching the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Babcock last coached in the NHL in 2019, where he was fired from the Maple Leafs after starting the season 9-10-4.

With Babcock yet to fully apologize for his atrocious actions as head coach, he too does not deserve another chance in the NHL. However, considering this is the NHL we’re talking about here, his name is more than likely on the table regardless of his past actions.


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