Every NHL team believes they can win the Stanley Cup. They all start the season by saying so but, obviously, they can’t all win it. Some will disappoint and miss out on their preseason goals. And when teams disappoint, the coach usually (and sometimes unfairly) gets the blame and the ax.
Every coach is on the hot seat, but the heat is more intense for some. Looking at the next/first NHL coach to be fired odds from sportsbook Sportsbook, it looks like the heat under Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe’s seat is the warmest ... what?
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Here’s a look at the sportsbook’s full list of the next/first NHL coach fired/resign odds:
Odds to Be Next NHL Coach Fired/Resign
|Sheldon Keefe (Toronto)||+650|
|Dave Hakstol (Seattle)||+700|
|Lindy Ruff (New Jersey)||+750|
|Dallas Eakins (Anaheim)||+800|
|Peter Laviolette (Washington)||+900|
|Don Granato (Buffalo)||+1200|
|Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina)||+1200|
|Brad Larsen (Columbus)||+1200|
|Jay Woodcroft (Edmonton)||+1200|
|D.J. Smith (Ottawa)||+1600|
|Andre Tourigny (Arizona)||+1800|
|John Tortorella (Philadelphia)||+2000|
|David Quinn (San Jose)||+2200|
|Craig Berube (St. Louis)||+2500|
|Dean Evason (Minnesota)||+2800|
|Mike Sullivan (Pittsburgh)||+2800|
|John Hynes (Nashville)||+3300|
|Luke Richardson (Chicago)||+4000|
|Todd McLellan (Los Angeles)||+4000|
|Martin St. Louis (Montreal)||+4000|
|Jim Montgomery (Boston)||+5000|
|Darryl Sutter (Calgary)||+5000|
|Peter DeBoer (Dallas)||+5000|
|Paul Maurice (Florida)||+5000|
|Rick Bowness (Winnipeg)||+5000|
|Jared Bednar (Colorado)||+6600|
|Derek Lalonde (Detroit)||+6600|
|Lane Lambert (NY Islanders)||+6600|
|Bruce Boudreau (Vancouver)||+6600|
|Bruce Cassidy (Vegas)||+6600|
|Gerard Gallant (NY Rangers)||+8000|
|Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay)||+10000|
Odds as of October 11 at Sportsbook
First NHL Coach Fired: Why Is Sheldon Keefe The Favorite?
Seriously, why is Sheldon Keefe the favorite to be the first coach fired? It makes no sense. Keefe – and by extension his GM Kyle Dubas – will be judged not by the regular season but by the playoffs.
There’s a possibility that the Leafs could falter right out of the gate and Keefe gets the ax, but the likelihood of that is incredibly low. Since taking over behind the bench, he has a 116-50-19 record for an incredible 0.678 points percentage in the regular season – a percentage that has steadily increased year over year.
It’s important to remember these odds are for the first coach to be fired, not any coach to be fired. And there’s just no way Keefe is fired first.
NHL First Coach Fired: Best Value
For this futures bet, you want to find a coach who’s been on the job for a while and can’t underperform early. New Jersey Devils bench boss Lindy Ruff is a prime candidate.
Lindy Ruff - New Jersey Devils (+750)
He’s been at the helm since July 2020 and results have gotten worse over his two seasons in the Garden State. His points percentage went from 0.402 in ’20-21 to 0.384 last season.
The Devils aren’t rebuilding anymore and should be pressing for a playoff position this season. They’re projected to hit around 90 points with the OVER/UNDER total set at 90.5, the sixth-best total among Metropolitan Division teams, which would put them outside the playoff picture again.
If that form holds through to Thanksgiving, Ruff will be replaced.
Brad Larsen - Columbus Blue Jackets (+1200)
The stakes are high for Brad Larsen. His GM has gone all-in by spending big money to bring in Johnny Gaudreau ($9.75 million AAV) through free agency and then re-signing RFA Patrik Laine ($8.7 million AAV).
Jarmo Kekalainen is hoping those moves can push his team back into the playoffs for the first time in three years. Last year, Larsen and the Blue Jackets fell well short of the playoffs with a 37-35-7 record (0.494 points percentage).
Larsen should be able to turn his two elite attackers into a cohesive unit that piles on the points. But while Laine and Gaudreau are excellent players, they operate on the wing. They don’t have a center who can link up play from the defense to the offense and create down the middle. It’s a huge gap in the roster that could easily see the Blue Jackets drop a number of games to open the year and force Kekalainen’s hand.
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Todd McLellan (+4000)
We’re going into the fourth year of McLellan’s tenure with the Kings. Last year, he saw his team jump up to the playoffs on the back of a 99-point season. The aim this year is to do the same and maybe even better.
GM Rob Blake went out and landed the biggest fish on the trade market in Kevin Fiala. The point-per-game winger last year boosts a Kings offense that was one of the worst in the NHL a season ago.
The Kings are projected to do well again, but projections don’t always pan out. McLellan has to get his team in a playoff position by Thanksgiving or he’ll be out of a job because there’s no way the Kings are taking a step back now.