As the season comes to an end 16 teams move on to the 2nd season as most call it, but for the 14 that didn’t make it, expect changes. Thus far we have had 3 firings of coaches and 1 GM and a couple of Hall of Famer’s promoted. Like in any sport, change is apart of any game, hockey, basketball, and especially football. Seems NFL coaches change spots more than hockey bench bosses. Either way non playoff teams get the head start in preparing for the draft and next season, oh let’s not forget the expansion draft too.
Starting off the start of the list is Darryl Sutter coach of the L.A. Kings and General Manager Dean Lombardi, Lombardi being the longer tenured of the 2 was hired back in 2006, and Sutter hired in 2011. Under Sutter and Lombardi they combined for 2 Stanley Cups, the first in 2012, which was the Kings first ever Cup in franchise history, and the 2nd Cup in 2014. Sutter led the Kings to the Conference Final and lost to the Blackhawks in 2013, Lombardi as GM has the franchise record for wins for the Kings at 425.
The Kings went 39-35-8 this season finishing 5th in the Pacific division and 10th in the Western Conference and tied for 5th fewest goals at 201. The Kings had a good run under Sutter and Lombardi, the 2012 Cup was first in franchise history and the Kings won in 6 games against the Devils, the 2014 Cup was a one-sided affair as they beat the Rangers in 5 games. The Kings in my mind were a more defensive team, score 1 or 2 goals and play shut down D, never really having the offensive threat that is on their roster.
In light of this 2 legendary guys by the names of Luc Robitaille and Rob Blake were promoted, Robitaille team President and Blake Vice President and new GM. It will be exciting to see how this one plays out, especially 2 guys who played for the Kings and were apart of some great teams in the 90’s. I believe they’ll put the Kings back on track in L.A.
This next one came to no surprise for me, the Canucks fired coach Willie Desjardins after 3 seasons with the team. The Canucks went 30-43-9 and had the 2nd worst record in the league behind Colorado who only had 48 points on the season. Desjardins led the team to the playoffs in his first season, but has missed the last 2 seasons, amassing a record of 109-110-27 during his tenure.
A lot of changes have to be made in Vancouver to make this team a contender again, the Sedin twins I don’t think will be apart of that, nor Ryan Miller. All aspect of their game were awful. scoring needs help, defense is okay but could use some tooling with. So as the days move on to the off season we shall see how this one plays out.
The last on the list, Lindy Ruff is ousted as coach in Dallas, after leading the league in offensive categories last year and making the playoffs only to come up short. This season came up short as well, the Stars had injury issues with a good portion of their roster and goalie issues were again the problem. Stars finished 34-37-11 this year finishing 6th in the Central division and 11th in the Western conference.
Luckily enough the Stars have the best chance out of the three teams here to turn around next season with the youth on the defense, with 4 of them being under the age of 24. The goal tending issue will likely be another aspect they will handle as well, will they keep Lehtonen or will they keep Niemi, or will both be gone?