2019-20 Head Coach Firings & Hirings

The number of head coaches dismissed so far this season is frankly, ridiculous. Eight so far have joined the revolving door and are either considering their options, or have already found new employment. Given the insane frequency with which this happens, it’s time there was a page to track the firings and hirings of head coaches in the NHL. This page will be updated whenever there’s another casualty, and reset at the end of the season.

Bruce Boudreau – Minnesota Wild – February 14th

Record when fired: 27-23-7

This was a bit of a surprise. The Wild haven’t been playing too badly recently, although they don’t look like a team capable of troubling the Stanley Cup Finals any time soon. Boudreau is experienced and dependable, but also has a reputation for being mediocre. Wild GM Bill Guerin questioned exactly how committed the team was after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Rangers. Given how crazy the season has been for dismissals, it’s hard to imagine that Boudreau won’t find another gig before the start of next season, even if it’s just short term.

Replaced by: Dean Evason

Gerard Gallant – Vegas Golden Knights – January 15th

Record when fired: 24-19-6

A victim of his own success, as well as weak goaltending, Gallant’s Golden Knights weren’t meeting the sky-high expectations they’ve set themselves in previous seasons. The front office decided a change had to be made, and Peter DeBoer was available, so Gallant and assistant Mike Kelly were shown the door, albeit in a more dignified way than Florida. He’ll bounce back though.

Replaced by: Peter DeBoer

Peter Laviolette – Nashville Predators – January 6th

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Record when fired: 19-15-7

No, he wasn’t fired for wearing that jacket, but it would have been understandable. Laviolette’s five full seasons with the Preds was a perfect bell curve of performances (first round, second round, finals, second round, first round) and with the team set to miss the playoffs, there was only one outcome. With the team sat second-last in a very competitive division, a new direction was needed i.e. a change in staff.

Replaced by: John Hynes

Peter DeBoer – San Jose Sharks – December 11th

Record when fired: 15-16-2

A victim of weak goaltending and inconsistent performances, DeBoer’s San Joe Sharks team were playing far below expectations. There were other troubles in the ice in San Jose, but the weak goaltending was the nail in DeBoer’s coffin. Injuries didn’t help either, the talent on the ice last season was able to out-play the inadequacies the team has. It’s odd that the organisation waited until now to replace DeBoer, instead of making the change before the season started.

Replaced by: Bob Boughner

Jim Montgomery – Dallas Stars – December 10th

Record when fired: 17-11-3

Answers on a postcard for this one. All we know is that know is that there was an incident that did not meet with the “core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League”. No explanation was given for whatever incident triggered this, but Montgomery later released a statement explaining that he’d checked himself into an alcohol rehab program.

Replaced by: Rick Bowness

John Hynes – New Jersey Devils – December 3rd

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Record when fired: 9-13-4

Further proof that being a head coach in the NHL carries laughably slim job security; Hynes was fired the Devils exactly 11 months after signing a three year contract extension. Results speak louder than contracts though, after New Jersey lost 17 of 26 games, Hynes was out.

Replaced by: Alain Nasreddine

UPDATE: On January 4th, Hynes was announced as head coach of the Nashville Predators (see above).


Bill Peters (resigned) – Calgary Flames – November 29th

Record when resigned: 12-12-4

The second head coach to go in 2019-20, Bill Peters wasn’t fired, rather he resigned amid a flurry of accusations of racism and physical abuse by former players.

Hired by the Flames organisation in April 2018, Peters took the team to their first division title in 13 years, although the Flames were knocked out in the first round.

Replaced by: Geoff Ward


Mike Babcock – Toronto Maple Leafs – November 20th

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Record when fired: 9-10-4

He was supposed to be the saviour of Toronto, but after several first round exits and a weak start to the 2019-20 season, GM Kyle Dubas has called it a day on Mike Babcock’s leadership. A five game losing streak didn’t help. It’s hard to say how much of the Leafs’ woes were down to the man behind the bench, after all the team which is renowned for it’s offence has had a lot of early injuries to its big names. Gotta wonder why this wasn’t done during the off-season though.

Replaced by: Sheldon Keefe