- Odds are out on the first NHL coach likely to get the axe in the 2022-23 season
- The Maple Leafs’ Sheldon Keefe is the favorite to be the first NHL coach fired
- Read below for odds on which NHL coach is likely to be fired first, as well as our best bet
The puck hasn’t even dropped yet for the NHL preseason and the Maple Leafs are already making headlines. Oddsmakers have declared Toronto’s head coach, Sheldon Keefe, as the favorite to be the first NHL coach fired this year at +650.
There are four other coaches who join Keefe with odds shorter than +1000. Six NHL coaches were dismissed during the season last year, while Paul Maurice resigned from his post with the Jets.
Read below for all the odds on which NHL coach is likely to be sent packing first. We’ll also analyze why some of these coaches are on the hot seat and give you our pick and prediction on the first NHL coach to be fired.
Odds on First NHL Coach to be Fired in 2022-23
|Sheldon Keefe (TOR)||+650|
|Dave Hakstol (SEA)||+700|
|Dallas Eakins (ARI)||+600|
|Peter Laviolette (WAS)||+800|
|Lindy Ruff (NJ)||+900|
|Rod Brind’Amour (CAR)||+1000|
|Don Granato (BUF)||+1200|
|Jay Woodcroft (EDM)||+1200|
|Brad Larsen (CBJ)||+1400|
|Andre Tourigny (ARI)||+1600|
|John Tortorella (PHI)||+1800|
|D.J. Smith (OTT)||+2000|
|David Quinn (SJ)||+2000|
|Craig Berube (STL)||+2500|
|Dean Evason (MIN)||+2800|
|Mike Sullivan (PIT)||+2800|
|John Hynes (NSH)||+3300|
|Luke Richardson (CHI)||+4000|
|Todd McLellan (LA)||+4000|
|Martin St. Louis (MTL)||+4000|
|Jim Montgomery (BOS)||+5000|
|Darryl Sutter (CGY)||+5000|
|Peter DeBoer (DAL)||+5000|
|Paul Maurice (FLA)||+5000|
|Jared Bednar (COL)||+6600|
|Derek Lalonde (DET)||+6600|
|Lane Lambert (NYI)||+6600|
|Bruce Boudreau (VAN)||+6600|
|Bruce Cassidy (VGK)||+6600|
|Rick Bowness (WPG)||+6600|
|Gerard Gallant (NYR)||+8000|
|Jon Cooper (TB)||+10000|
Odds as of September 19th.
Is Sheldon Keefe’s Time Up?
It might come across as a surprise to some that Keefe is on the hot seat and the favorite to be canned first. After all, he did just lead the Maple Leafs to a franchise record 115-point regular season. However, for the third year in a row, Keefe couldn’t win a playoff round, something the Leafs haven’t done since 2004.
Sometimes, firing a head coach is not about the coach’s record and what kind of job he’s done for you. Rather, it’s more about whether there’s someone better out there.
— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) May 16, 2022
For a team that’s a top contender in the 2023 Stanley Cup odds, regular season success just won’t cut it anymore. The issue is, the Leafs have to go on a slide during the regular season to force general manager, Kyle Dubas into even thinking about firing Keefe.
If you combine the last two years, only three teams, the Hurricanes, Panthers and Avalanche have accumulated more points during the regular season than the Leafs. Other than goaltender Jack Campbell, all the big pieces are back led by Auston Matthews, who is once again at the top of the list in the Hart Trophy odds.
Undoubtedly, a slow start will put Keefe’s job at risk in Toronto more than in other markets because of the rabid fan base. However the team has performed admirably during the regular season under his watch and he was handpicked by Dubas after the Leafs fired Mike Babcock a few years ago, so although there is pressure, it’s tough to imagine he’d be the first coach to get the axe this year.
President Brendan Shanahan opens with a vote of confidence for general manager Kyle Dubas & coach Sheldon Keefe
There will be some new faces, but the Leafs will not make change for the sake of change
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) May 17, 2022
Other NHL Coaches to Consider Being Fired First
Peter Laviolette has odds of +800 to be the first one to get his walking papers this year. In a highly competitive Eastern Conference where every playoff team got 100 points last season, Laviolette’s Capitals are one team who might miss out on the postseason entirely next year.
It will be tough out of the gate for the Caps as two key cogs in their lineup, Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson, are recovering from offseason surgeries and won’t be playing for a while. With Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie also getting up there in age, Washington seems like they will fall off and when that happens, the coach is likely to suffer the consequences.
Friedman and Marek talk about Tom Wilson who will be out 6-8 months after his ACL surgery, add to it the doubt over Backstrom. Lot of questions around the Capitals this offseason.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) May 26, 2022
Out West, Dallas Eakins could be in trouble in Anaheim. He’s entering his fourth year as coach of the Ducks and hasn’t gotten them to the postseason since taking over. Pat Verbeek was hired as general manager for Anaheim midway through last season and may want to replace Eakins with a coach of his own choosing, especially if Anaheim falters in the early going.
Best Bet for First NHL Coach to be Fired
Putting Keefe as the odds-on-favorite to be the first coach fired is great headline material, especially in the Toronto market, but it doesn’t make the most sense when you take everything into consideration. In addition to the factors already mentioned, he also is under contract for two more years.
One of the key things to look for when making your pick on which NHL coach will be fired first is to see how many more years they are signed for. Although the Maple Leafs don’t care much about money, most owners don’t want to pay a coach for more than a year if they’re not working for them.
Four straight first round exits for the Washington Capitals.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) September 19, 2022
That’s why you should try and bet on a coach with a “lame duck contract”, meaning he’s in the final year of his deal. Laviolette fits that bill as he’s in the final year of his deal with Washington with no extension on the horizon.
With his best players on the wrong side of 30 and some big gaps to fill early due to injuries, Laviolette is the pick to be fired first in the NHL this year.
Pick: Peter Laviolette (+800)