Weekly Question: Who Should Be The Next Sens Coach?
With Dave Cameron unexpectedly being fired, who should his replacement be? There are quite a number of options
Dave Cameron and his assistants were predictably fired on Tuesday, giving the Senators plenty of time to find a new head coach and some assistants as well. I have yet to see a single Ottawa fan that is lamenting this move, as it is clear to most that Cameron wasn't the man for the job on a winning team.
Now that there is a vacancy in that role, who could be the seventh head coach in ten years for this stumbling team?
Damn, not happening. Let's move on.
Hitchcock obviously still has a job with the St. Louis Blues, but if they fail to get out of the first or even second round, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him fired. He was signed to a one-year deal before the season, meaning the Blues have him on a pretty short leash, and they won't owe him any money if he's elsewhere next year.
I would think that the Blues need to go on a run to at least the 3rd round if Hitchcock wants to keep his job. He has been a solid coach for them for almost five seasons with a record of 224-103-36. He has coached a very good St. Louis team, but according to many he has changed from his previous ways of coaching. If Ottawa were to go hard after him, he would be quite expensive, especially for Eugene Melnyk's taste.
Boudreau has yet to be fired either, and I'd say there's a smaller chance that he's gone compared to Hitchcock. However, much like the Blues, the Ducks want to go deep into the playoffs and if they don't get there, Boudreau could certainly be fired. His all-time record of 409-192-80 gives him a points percentage of .659%, making him the most successful active coach, and the second best of all-time for coaches with at least 100 games experience.
He has made Anaheim a solid possession team, and he adapted very well earlier in the year when they couldn't score on a soccer net. Ottawa has been connected to him according to Elliotte Friedman, and if he's fired, he should be near the top of the list of candidates.
Yeo seems like a very possible candidate, because his name has always come up and he shouldn't be as expensive as the others. Yeo actually spent five seasons in Minnesota, which is longer than I thought. In those years, he compiled a 173-132-44 record, meaning they were essentially a .500 team.
Yeo seems respected enough in the game, although it's hard to comment on his specific tactics. He was an assistant coach in Pittsburgh under Michel Therrien and Dan Bylsma, and also coached the Houston Aeros, so he has had other experience in the past decade and change. My gut says that he'll end up being the coach, because he checks a lot of boxes (with a big one being his lower salary).
Plus, he might be good for an outrage or two at Ottawa's practices:
Crawford hasn't been in the league since 2010-11 when he was with the Dallas Stars for two seasons, but he has been around the block many times. He has also coached the Avalanche, Canucks, and Kings in the past 20 years, and was Auston Matthews' coach this year in Zurich, who won the championship.
Crawford won a Stanley Cup back in 1996 with Colorado, which is something that only Paul MacLean could say amongst previously fired Senators coaches. There's something to be said for having experience, and I think Crawford might be someone that Ottawa could use.
If he hasn't adapted to the new style of play in the NHL, then I am not sure. But he hasn't coached in five years, so it's hard to evaluate how good he will be. Coaching for 15 seasons in the NHL is not an easy thing to do, so maybe he is someone that would be a good hire.
Dineen only had a brief two and a half year head coaching stint with the Florida Panthers, but other than that he has not had a very long track record. He is still an assistant coach with the Blackhawks right now, but if Ottawa wants to hire him, they should be able to since he would be moving up in his position.
He coached the Canadian Women's National team to a gold medal in the Sochi Olympics, and was the Portland Pirates coach in the AHL from 2005-2011. He would be more of a low-profile pick, especially since the team seemed to emphasize that they wanted a coach with more experience.
His name has been out there though, and I can see him at least getting interviewed.
Boucher is the out of the box type pick, and he hasn't even coached in the NHL since 2012-13. He had an immensely successful first season when the Lightning went to the Conference Finals, but his next two seasons got progressively worse as they missed the playoffs both years. He implemented his infamous trap system that worked for a while, but when teams caught on, it backfired.
I'm not sure how effective a system like that would work on a team that needs to be high-tempo, but it would be interesting to see how differently Boucher would treat his job with the Senators. He has been out of a job since November after being fired by SC Bern. His name always seems to be out there when there is a coaching vacancy, although I can't really see him being hired in Ottawa.
I'm sure there are a few more options, but those seem to be the big names at this moment. Let me know in the comments if there is anyone else that you would like to see behind the bench next year.
If all these coaches were available, who should Ottawa choose for next season?