3 NHL Teams Due for a Regime Change

Ottawa Senators head coach Dave Cameron once wisely professed to the Ottawa Citizen: “My profession is probably the only profession in the world where every day you go into work, you’re a day closer to getting fired, because every coach is fired.”

Despite coaching them to a 21-3-3 record over the final third of the regular season and into the playoffs, Cameron’s Sens make this list of the top three teams due for a regime change (either head coach or general manager). Only not for the reasons you probably think.

3. Ottawa Senators

While Daniel Alfredsson is reportedly on the verge of returning to the Senators in a front-office capacity, his exact role has yet to be defined. However, it’s unlikely that he would take over for GM Bryan Murray due to lack of experience, but someone will—regardless of how well the team does.

He has terminal colon cancer and has stated he expects 2015-16 to be his last season.

The team has been up and down since he came on board as head coach for the 2005-06 season, with the high being a Stanley Cup Final berth in 2007. The lows have comprised three playoff misses since the start of his tenure as GM for the start of the 2007-08 season, as well as a revolving door of head-coach hirings.

Thankfully, Ottawa appears to be on the upswing again, with Cameron at the helm. Hopefully, this season will be another good one for Murray and company.

2. San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson
San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson

The 2014-15 season marked the first time since 2002-03 the San Jose Sharks missed the playoffs. However, the fall of this current regime, whenever it does fall—and it will eventually—can be traced back to the first round of the 2013-14 playoffs.

Sharks fans know it well. The four-game sweep, which came after winning the first three games of their series against the Los Angeles Kings, has been forever burned into their minds.

A promised rebuild has yielded minimal turnover with regard to the team’s core, with really just a then-38-year-old Dan Boyle, moving on to the New York Rangers last offseason once his contract expired. However, that was almost to be expected.

Meanwhile the usual suspects in every conversation regarding the Sharks’ struggles—Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau—were re-signed to nearly identical three-year contracts, ironically just months prior to the loss to the Kings, with no-movement clauses to boot.

Essentially, Doug Wilson inadvertently guaranteed the only change of any significance that could be made to his team—especially after hiring Peter DeBoer to replace Todd McLellan behind the bench—is for a new GM to eventually take the reins.

Scratch that … he also traded away a first-round pick and a prospect for an unproven backup goalie to presumably assume the starting role. Yeah, “eventually” could be rapidly approaching.

1. St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott and general manager Doug Armstrong
St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott and general manager Doug Armstrong – (Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

For a while now, the Blues have found themselves among the league’s elite. Unfortunately, they have yet to see their regular-season success translate into the playoffs, with just a single second-round appearance to show for GM Doug Armstrong’s five years on the job.

Yes, one second-round appearance, but not a single game won past the first, with the Blues getting swept by the Kings in their 2012 Western Conference semifinal.

Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going around.

The Blues can actually look to the Sharks as a cautionary tale, how unsustainable close-to-little postseason success is over the long haul. Eventually, it catches up to you.

It’s a theory that Armstrong himself probably subscribes to, seeing as the Blues were reportedly one of the teams courting Mike Babcock last season, despite Ken Hitchcock, who has never failed to reach the playoffs as the Blues’ head coach, still being under contract.

Ultimately, Babcock agreed to a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Hitchcock got re-signed for one year. Said that NHL.com news report by Louie Korac, “[Hitchcock] is comfortable going on a year-by-year basis.” Armstrong should be as well. Barring postseason progress in 2016, no one’s job is likely safe.