Division Preview: Coaching & Management

Finishing the week's divisional preview, a look at the coaching and management groups of the other teams in the Atlantic Division.

Boston Bruins

GM: Peter Chiarelli

Coach: Claude Julien

Cap space: -$809,143

One of the more formidable duos in the division, Chiarelli and Julien won a Stanley Cup together in 2011 and returned to the final in 2013. Julien won the Jack Adams Award in 2009 and is an annual candidate for the honour. Chiarelli has put together one of the NHL's most dominant teams in recent years, but the Bruins are not without problems. Chiarelli likes to make moves during the season but the Bruins lack of cap space will make that difficult in 2014-15. Cap problems prevented Boston from re-signing Jarome Iginla in the off-season and meant the team couldn't bring in additional impact players. Decisions to extend depth players like Chris Kelly to expensive deals meant the Bruins couldn't affording to keep top pick Tyler Seguin, who emerged as a superstar in his first season in Dallas.

GM: Tim Murray

Coach: Ted Nolan

Cap space: $11,218,334

Much has been made of Tim Murray's short tenure at the helm of the Sabres. He's moved out disgruntled veterans like Christian Ehrhoff and changed his leadership group by acquiring Montreal's. He's tried to use his team's cap space (and owner Terry Pegula's money) to the Sabres advantage, offering to eat bad contracts in exchange for draft picks. He's stocked Buffalo's cupboards with picks ahead of a deep draft. Still, it's much easier to tear down than to build a winner and the Sabres have a long way to go. Ted Nolan's first tenure with Buffalo resulted in the coach winning the Jack Adams Award in 1997 but he was dismissed that same season. Out of the NHL for a decade before landing the Islanders bench gig, Nolan had been out of the NHL for five years before returning to Buffalo midway through the 2013-2014 season. Still, Nolan wasn't Murray's hire and while Murray has publicly declared his confidence in the coach, Nolan might not be Murray's guy when it comes down to it.

GM: Ken Holland

Coach: Mike Babcock

Cap space: $3,082,955

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Mike Babcock is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. Twice a finalist for the Jack Adams (including last season, losing out to Patrick Roy), Babcock has lead Team Canada to back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics in 2010 and 2014. Babcock and Holland won the Stanley Cup together in 2008. Like Babcock, Holland is widely regarded as one of the best in the league at his job. But without a championship in six years and with a measured-decline in the post-Niklas Lidstrom era, the question becomes how good has Ken Holland been lately? Young players like Valtteri Filppula have stagnated in Detroit only to move elsewhere and have success. While Detroit's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids has had success recently, emerging young stars sometimes languish there. Holland's greatest failure recently has been his moves during the season. Holland gave up a first pick late in the season for defensive failure Kyle Quincey (and inexplicably re-signed him this off-season). More recently, the Wings acquired David Legwand for a package including highly regarded prospect Calle Järnkrok and a pick despite being a wild card team. Much of Holland's recent moves suggest the organization is more interested in maintaining its playoff streak then seriously building a Cup contender.

GM: Dave Tallon

Coach: Gerard Gallant

Cap space: $4,576,292

Tallon's a veteran GM who helped build Chicago into a winner but was demoted before the team's breakthrough. GM in Florida since 2010, Tallon's Panthers have finished 28th (2011), 14th (2012), 30th (2013), and 29th (2014). More and more, it looks like 2011-2012 was an aberration and bottom-three finishes the norm. He also signed Dave Bolland for five years and $27.5M this off-season. Tallon is on his fourth coach in four seasons while in charge of the Panthers and Gallant hasn't worked in the NHL as a head coach since 2006. He previously coached the Blue Jackets from 2003 to 2006, never achieving a winning record.

GM: Marc Bergevin

Coach: Michel Therrien

Cap space: $2,651,667

Bergevin seems destined to be defined by P.K. Subban's contracts. After a contract dispute caused Subban to miss time in 2012-2013, Bergevin signed his star to a bridge deal and Subban promptly won the Norris Trophy. Things almost turned ugly this summer with organization and player headed to arbitration before a last minute deal saved them for the process. Still, the deal was considerably more than Subban would have made had he been signed to a long-term deal in 2013. Therrien has a difficult reputation earned while behind the bench in Pittsburgh and has a tendency to become unglued when things get tough (see the playoff series against Ottawa in 2013).

GM: Bryan Murray

Coach: Paul MacLean

Cap space: $14,116,667

Murray is not only an experienced NHL GM, he's also the longest-serving in Senators history. He's shown an ability to ink young, skilled players to reasonable contracts (Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris) but seems to have a weakness for big tough types (Jared Cowen) and especially power forwards (Colin Greening). MacLean's won a Stanley Cup as an assistant with Detroit in 2008 and has been a finalist for the Jack Adams Awards in two of his three seasons behind the Ottawa bench, winning in 2013. MacLean changed his style last season and relied on his fourth line more often than he should. However, he's illustrated that he's smart enough to make the necessary adjustments to return to that winning form.

GM: Steve Yzerman

Coach: Jon Cooper

Cap space: $-1,877,927

Steve Yzerman deserves a lot of credit for rebuilding the Lightning. The organization has added several key contributors and the Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher deal is already pretty lopsided. Under tough constraints he managed to work out a deal with the Rangers for Martin St. Louis that worked considerably in Tampa's favour. However, re-signing Ryan Callahan long-term has the potential to be a disaster and Tampa has cap space issues. Yzerman was busy in the off-season, trading for Jason Garrison and signing expensive free agents like Anton Stralman. If things don't go as planned, it could be tough for Yzerman to bring in a player or two without money going out in the deal. 2013-2014 was Cooper's first full season behind the Tampa bench, promoted from the organization's AHL affiliate. Tampa rebounded and finished second in the division, and Cooper was in contention for the league's top honour for coaches.

GM: Dave Nonis

Coach: Randy Carlyle

Cap space: $360,000

Where to start? While Randy Carlyle won a Stanley Cup as coach of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, his systems lead to the Leafs getting peppered with shots. He refuses to utilize some players effectively; Clarke MacArthur languished on the fourth line in Toronto before becoming a standout with the Ottawa Senators. He's molded Captain Dion Phaneuf from a capable defender to something not closely resembling a capable defender. Perhaps most problematically, he does not seem to be aware of his deficiencies. Dave Nonis did acquire goaltender Jonathan Bernier during the 2013 off-season but that's about it. He's invented a type of buyout proof contract (deals which are bonus-laden throughout the term) as part of the bad deals given to Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak, and of course, David Clarkson. The David Clarkson signing is so bad it will be mentioned in Nonis's obit decades from now.

Atlantic Division Rankings

Best: Boston Bruins. While it will be interesting to watch Chiarelli manoeuvre and improve his team which is starting to show a few holes, with the cap limitations the Bruins are working with, Julien is a great coach and this is still an impressive duo.

2. Detroit Red Wings

3. Ottawa Senators

4. Tampa Bay Lightning

5. Buffalo Sabres

6. Montreal Canadiens

7. Florida Panthers

Worst: Toronto Maple Leafs. This ranking should not be taken to mean that Florida is somehow not deserving of a worst ranking. It is. But it seems clear that Carlyle & Nonis are lame ducks in the most obvious way. Remember when Randy Carlyle couldn't work a toaster? He's probably figured out that the writing is on the wall here. That's how obviously bad Nonis & Carlyle are.

Where would you rank Ottawa's coaching and management compared to the rest of the Atlantic Division?


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