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Offseason Coaching Changes in the NHL

There are six teams in the NHL that will have new coaches this coming season. These six teams include three who have coaches that have never held this position with any NHL team.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Mike Johnston

Although he led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup, Dan Blysma was fired this offseason due to several struggles with trying to get the Pens to win in the playoffs. The team is moving on with Mike Johnston, a former WHL coach. There is some controversy as he was suspended for a year once for offering illegal benefits to junior hockey players. Still, having stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same team make it so the Penguins are heavy favorites for the cup with futures odds of +1025 to win.

Vancouver Canucks – Willie Desjardins

The Vancouver Canucks struggled dramatically last year and traded away Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo in the hopes of rebuilding the team. The acquisition of Radim Vrbata helps for the offense but the biggest change is at the held as Willie Desjardins will be the new coach. He won two junior hockey titles in eight years with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers. The Canucks are listed at +4550 for winning the Stanley Cup but only time will tell if the change will work or if the Sedin twins' days in Vancouver are numbered.

Washington Capitals – Barry Trotz

Barry Trotz spent the past fifteen years being the only coach the Nashville Predators ever knew. He had only seven playoff appearances with two going further than the second round. He was let go after missing the playoffs three years in a row. New Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan hired Trotz in the hopes of providing a shakeup to a team that has struggled to show much talent outside of team captain Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals have +4550 odds for the season.

Carolina Hurricanes – Bill Peters

After missing the playoffs for five years in a row, new Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis purged the team's coaching staff. New head coach Bill Peters was an assistant in Detroit and an experienced minor league coach. However, the lack of noteworthy free agency moves leaves the Hurricanes at +10100 odds to win the Stanley Cup. The team is hoping that this change will prompt underperforming players like Eric Staal and Alexander Semin to step their games up.

Nashville Predators – Peter Laviolette

While Peter Laviolette had a Stanley Cup with Carolina and an Eastern Conference title in Philadelphia, fans were unhappy with how he couldn't match the same success he had on a consistent basis. He took much of last year off after being fired just three games into the season. His big job in Nashville is to help to team recover after losing Patric Hornqvist and to develop young star Seth Jones. The Predators have +9050 odds to win.

Florida Panthers – Gerard Gallant

The Florida Panthers are heavily expected to struggle with +11600 odds this year. While the Panthers did get some help in a trade for Roberto Luongo and got first-overall draft pick Aaron Ekbald on board plus free agents like Dave Bolland and Jussi Jokinen, the team still has far too many holes. It will be up to Gerard Gallant to lead the team. Gallant has not been a head coach in the NHL since 2007 when he was fired by Columbus. He did win two QMJHL junior hockey titles while coaching the Saint John Sea Dogs.