The Stanley Cup Final is still going on, but the coaching carousel is almost done spinning. For all intents and purposes, every NHL head coaching vacancy has been filled this offseason with the New York Rangers hiring Peter Laviolette on Tuesday.
Six NHL teams changed coaches this offseason, and the first team to name its new coach was the Washington Capitals, who hired former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant to replace Laviolette. The Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets will also have new head coaches in the 2023-24 season.
The Blue Jackets have reportedly reached an agreement with Mike Babcock to become their next head coach, but that is not official. Columbus will wait until Babcock’s contract with the Maple Leafs expires on June 30 to announce the move, per a report from The Athletic.
Let’s take a look at how the NHL coaching carousel has played out this offseason.
Rangers hire Peter Laviolette
The New York Rangers have officially announced the hiring of Peter Laviolette, who has been behind the bench in every NHL season since 2001-02. He replaces Gerard Gallant and becomes the 37th head coach in Rangers history.
“We are thrilled that Peter will be the next Head Coach of the New York Rangers,” Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury said in a press release. “With Peter’s extensive experience as a Head Coach in the National Hockey League, as well as the success his teams have had at several levels throughout his career, we are excited about what the future holds with him leading our team.”
In his 21 seasons as an NHL head coach, Laviolette has compiled a record of 752-503-25-150. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and he has taken two other teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final. Most recently, Laviolette spent three years with the Washington Capitals, and he was fired after missing the postseason in 2023.
Ryan Huska hired by Flames
Ryan Huska has officially been hired by the Calgary Flames as the 24th head coach in franchise history. Huska will replace former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter, who parted the team fired following the 2022-23 season.
“I’m honored to have earned the trust of Flames ownership, of Craig and the entire management group to coach this team,” Huska said in a statement. “My position coming into this is a little different than most as I know our players very well. We have good people in our dressing room, excellent hockey players who want to win. My job is to inspire them every single day to help get our team to the next level.”
Huska has served as a coach in the Flames organization since the 2014-15 season. At that time, he was named as the head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Flames. The team later became the Stockton Heat and Huska accumulated a 135-118-7 record in four AHL seasons. In 2018, Huska became an assistant coach for the Flames and held that position until he was named the franchise’s head coach on Monday.
Ducks hire Greg Cronin
The Anaheim Ducks named Greg Cronin as the team’s next head coach on Monday. This comes after the franchise elected not to renew the contract of previous head coach Dallas Eakins, who produced a 100-147-44 record in four seasons with the Ducks.
“While we did cast a wide net in searching for the next head coach, it became clear to me that Greg would be the ideal fit for the position,” Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement. “Being a young team, I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players. Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”
Cronin, 60, brings an abundance of experience as he has 36 years of coaching and player development experience. He has spent 12 years as an NHL assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs and two different stints with the New York Islanders.
Cronin has served as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles since 2018 and also previously spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University. He has led the Eagles to a 164-104-30 record during his tenure with the team and they have been to the Calder Cup Playoffs in four of his five seasons.
Blue Jackets will reportedly hire Mike Babcock when contract expires
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to hire veteran head coach Mike Babcock. The deal is expected to become official when Babcock’s contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires on June 30. Babcock hasn’t coached in the NHL since the 2018-19 season, when he spent 23 games behind the Maple Leafs bench.
Babcock will replace former Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen, who put together a 62-85-16 record in two seasons with the team.
Babcock has spent time as the head coach of the Ducks, Red Wings and Maple Leafs over the years. The 60-year-old bench boss had the most success with the Red Wings, as he led Detroit to a 458-223-105 record with the team. Babcock won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Red Wings.
Prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs as their next head coach. The Maple Leafs qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three consecutive seasons, but never made it out of the first round.
Babcock was fired in Nov. 2019 after he faced multiple accusations of mistreating some of his players. Former Red Wings star Johan Franzen accused Babcock of being verbally abusive and Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios supported Franzen’s claims.
Andrew Brunette lands with Predators
The Nashville Predators parted ways with head coach John Hynes and announced that Andrew Brunette has been hired as the franchise’s next head coach.
Hynes tallied a 134-96-18 record in four seasons as the Predators head coach, but never could lead the team past the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 48-year old had one year remaining on his contract with Nashville.
Brunette spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. He was named the associate head coach of the Florida Panthers in October 2021 after Joel Quenneville resigned as the team’s head coach. Following the 2021-22 season, the Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their next head coach. Florida did offer Brunette a significant assistant coach position with the franchise, but he chose to join the Devils’ coaching staff instead for the 2022-23 season.
During his time as the Panthers head coach, Brunette accumulated a 51-18-6 record and led the team to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division.The Panthers ended up being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season.
Capitals tab Spencer Carbery as next head coach
The Washington Capitals have tabbed Spencer Carbery as their next head coach, the team announced on May 30. Carbery spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs after rising up through the minor leagues through the Capitals organization.
Prior to hiring Carbery, the Capitals elected to part ways with previous head coach Peter Laviolette following the 2022-23 campaign. Laviolette’s contract expired with Washington, so technically he wasn’t fired.
Carbery, 41, has made waves as a coach in the Capitals farm system in the past. He served as the head coach of the Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears for three season and took them from a last-place team to the Calder Cup Playoffs. During the 2020-21 campaign, Carbery was named the AHL Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a first-place finish.
In addition to his success in the AHL, Carbery also won ECHL Coach of the Year honors in 2014 during his time with the South Carolina Stingrays. During his time in the minor leagues, Carbery only had a team finish below .500 in one season.
The Capitals expressed interest in keeping Carbery within the organization following the 2021-22 season, but he accepted the assistant coach job with the Maple Leafs.
Carbery was in charge of the Maple Leafs’ power-play this past season and Toronto ended up thriving, as they converted 26% of their power-play opportunities — good for second in the NHL behind the Edmonton Oilers.