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With Laviolette gone, here’s the NHL’s coaching vacancy landscape

May 6, 2014, 3:07 PM EDT

Peter Laviolette AP

Considering how in-demand Peter Laviolette appeared to be prior to getting scooped up by Nashville — online oddsmaker Bovada had him as the 3-to-1 favorite to land the Washington gig, for example — it’s likely that his hire will shift the NHL’s coaching vacancy landscape.

As of today, there are openings in Vancouver, Washington, Florida and Carolina. Questions remain about Randy Carlyle’s future in Toronto and Todd McLellan’s in San Jose, so there could be as many as six potential jobs available — but, if Carlyle and McLellan hit the open market, that’s two more viable candidates added to the mix.

Speaking of that mix, names currently in it include Barry Trotz, John Stevens, Kevin Dineen, Jeff Blashill, Mike Haviland, Guy Boucher, Willie Desjardins and Brad Shaw (to name a few.) You can also throw the four recently dismissed bench bosses in the mix — John Tortorella, Peter Horachek, Kirk Muller and Adam Oates — though the bloom is definitely off the rose to a varying degree for all of them.

Here are some things to consider regarding the Laviolette hire:

One of the better offense-minded candidates is gone

In today’s release, Nashville cited Laviolette’s “offensive-minded philosophy” as one of the key reasons for his hire. Six times in eight seasons Laviolette’s teams finished in the NHL’s top-10 in goals scored; he was also credited for the maturation and development of Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read in Philadelphia (Nashville GM David Poile also praised Laviolette for developing Eric Staal in Carolina). The Preds probably weren’t the only team looking for an offensive punch, either — Carolina finished 22nd in the NHL in goals last year, Vancouver 28th and Florida 29th.

One of the most experienced candidates is gone

Experience often matters when looking for a new coach, and Laviolette has plenty of it. He has nearly 400 career wins, won a Cup in Carolina in 2006 and, four years later, took the Flyers all the way to the final before losing to Chicago. That’s big. In Florida, GM Dale Tallon said he wants an experienced bench boss this time around — after his last three were rookie head coaches — and Laviolette’s name had come up with regards to the vacancy.

He was actually available to interview

One of the problems facing teams right now is that several prime candidates are busy, y’know, coaching their teams. Stevens, the assistant in Los Angeles, is in the midst of the Stanley Cup playoffs; Blashill (AHL Grand Rapids) and Desjardins (AHL Texas) are currently up against one another in the Calder Cup Western Conference semifinal. It also stands to reason that a number of GMs are waiting to see what happens with Carlyle and McLellan, both of whom are still under contract. According to whispers, the McLellan watch is already on in Vancouver.

  1. sharksfan754 - May 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Another good reason why I don’t want the Sharks to dump McClellan, I don’t like any one else out there who is available. Larry Robinson would be the next best option in my opinion.

  2. joemattingly - May 6, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    yeah, I’m surprised Robinson isn’t getting more play – has he said he doesn’t want be a head coach again? I would guess though if McClellan left, he would take Robinson with him if he got another gig

  3. jason9696 - May 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    As a Leafs fan. I’m hoping Brendan Shanahan would fire Randy Carlyle and try to hire Barry Trotz. I’m sure he could really help the defensively challenged Leafs.

  4. canucks30 - May 6, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    John Stevens seems like the perfect fit in Vancouver.

    Stanley Cup as assistant in LA, previous head coaching experience in Philadelphia (ECF), tons of experience in the AHL as a player and coach (several Calder Cups).

    He’s run the Kings defence and PK under Darryl Sutter and has helped bring along many of the Kings younger players.

    I think he deserves another chance as a head coach in the NHL.

    • vanindeed - May 6, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Trotz is the best coach available

  5. digbysellers - May 6, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    As a Hershey Bears fan I can’t imagine why Haviland is on this list. Who would hire him right now after the up & down season he just produced?!

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