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  • NHL coaching carousel shaping up to be memorable

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    NHL coaching carousel shaping up to be memorable

    Tim Rosenthal May 11, 2015

    It’s more probable than not” that the National Hockey League will see a coaching carousel like no other in recent memory over the coming weeks.

    Some of those names in that carousel are already generating some buzz based on their track records. Todd McLellan, who guided the Sharks to two straight Western Conference Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011, is garnering some interest in Edmonton. Ken Hitchcock’s future in St. Louis is uncertain. Same can be said in Detroit for Mike Babcock, the longest tenured coach in the league and unquestionably the biggest coaching entity on the market.

    Even former coaches who have been out of the league for more than a year — like John Tortorella, Guy Boucher and, yes, even Mike Milbury — are rumored to enter the conversation.

    Rebuilding teams like the Oilers and Sabres are likely to go the route of hiring McLellan or Babcock based on their history of developing younger talent through their systems in San Jose and Detroit, respectively. Babcock could also add General Manager to his resume, thus the rumors of him becoming the next coach in Buffalo.

    Then there are other coaches like Claude Julien, who is awaiting his fate on his future in Boston from the next GM. Should leading candidate Don Sweeney or the next Bruins GM decide that Julien’s services are no longer needed, then they too will enter the NHL’s coaching carousel of 2015.

    Like Peter Chiarelli when he was fired by the Bruins, Julien would be snatched up quickly as other teams like the Flyers and Sharks look to fill coaching vacancies. That list of teams could grow by another two teams — St. Louis and Detroit — if Hitchcock and Babcock find another home.

    Not to forget, the Toronto Maple Leafs need a GM and a coach to jump start one of the laughing stocks in the league from the past two seasons.

    Other than Babcock, the list of names above have either a similar or slightly worse track record than Julien. Although the B’s bench boss has that going for them after eight seasons at the helm, the direction of the team — from Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs and the new GM to the coaching and the personnel — is the biggest question that the Black and Gold have to answer this off-season. Do they want a coach who has been scrutinized for his reluctance to play younger players in critical situations? Do they want to reload for another run at the Stanley Cup? Do they want a younger coach like Boucher to bring a fresh perspective to the locker room?

    Those are questions that Neely, Jacobs the new GM and the rest of the front office need to answer. But make no mistake, the B’s are “generally aware” of the list of coaches hitting the open market.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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