Home News NHL head coaching tracker: Rangers hire Peter Laviolette to replace Gerard Gallant, Flames promote Ryan Huska

NHL head coaching tracker: Rangers hire Peter Laviolette to replace Gerard Gallant, Flames promote Ryan Huska

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NHL Coaching Carousel: Peter Laviolette Joins Rangers, Ryan Huska Promoted by Flames

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While the Stanley Cup Final is still ongoing, the NHL coaching carousel has nearly come to a stop. With the recent hiring of Peter Laviolette by the New York Rangers, every head coaching vacancy this offseason has been filled.

During this offseason, a total of six NHL teams made coaching changes. The Washington Capitals were the first to announce their new head coach, hiring a former assistant from the Toronto Maple Leafs to replace Laviolette. The Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, and Columbus Blue Jackets will also have new head coaches for the 2023-24 season.

The Blue Jackets have reportedly agreed to bring on Mike Babcock as their next head coach, but the official announcement will come after Babcock’s contract with the Maple Leafs expires on June 30, according to a report from The Athletic.

Let’s take a closer look at the NHL coaching carousel and how it has unfolded this offseason.

Rangers Welcome Peter Laviolette

The New York Rangers have officially announced the hiring of Peter Laviolette as their new head coach. Laviolette has been coaching in the NHL since the 2001-02 season and takes over from Gerard Gallant, becoming the 37th head coach in Rangers history.

“We are thrilled to have Peter as the next Head Coach of the New York Rangers,” said Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury in a press release. “With Peter’s extensive experience as an NHL Head Coach and the success he has had at various levels throughout his career, we are excited about the future with him leading our team.”

Laviolette boasts an impressive coaching career spanning 21 NHL seasons, amassing a record of 752-503-25-150. He led the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup victory in 2006 and guided the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final. Laviolette most recently spent three seasons with the Washington Capitals before being let go after missing the postseason in 2023.

Ryan Huska Takes the Helm for Flames

Ryan Huska has been officially named the head coach of the Calgary Flames, becoming the 24th head coach in franchise history. Huska replaces Darryl Sutter, who was relieved of his duties following the 2022-23 season.

“I’m honored to have earned the trust of Flames ownership, Craig, and the entire management group to coach this team,” said Huska in a statement. “My position coming into this is a little different than most, as I am already familiar with our players. We have a great group of individuals in our dressing room, talented hockey players who have the desire to win. My job is to inspire them every day and help take our team to the next level.”

Huska has been part of the Flames organization since the 2014-15 season when he was appointed as the head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate, initially named the Adirondack Flames and later renamed the Stockton Heat. Over four AHL seasons, Huska accumulated a record of 135-118-7. He then transitioned to an assistant coaching role with the Flames in 2018 before being promoted to the head coach position on Monday.

Ducks Welcome Greg Cronin

Greg Cronin has been named the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. The decision follows the team’s choice not to renew the contract of former head coach Dallas Eakins, who had a record of 100-147-44 over four seasons.

“While we conducted an extensive search for our next head coach, it became clear to me that Greg was the ideal fit for the position,” said Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek in a statement. “As a young team, we felt the need for a coach who could teach the finer points of the game and work extensively with talented young players to help them develop into successful NHL players. Greg has demonstrated these qualities and more, and we are excited to have him as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”

Cronin, 60, brings a wealth of coaching and player development experience with 36 years in the industry. He has served as an NHL assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders. Cronin was previously the head coach of the Colorado Eagles in the AHL since 2018 and also spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University. Under his guidance, the Eagles achieved a 164-104-30 record and reached the Calder Cup Playoffs in four of the five seasons.

Blue Jackets Expected to Hire Mike Babcock

According to a report by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to hire veteran head coach Mike Babcock. The official announcement is expected to be made once Babcock’s contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires on June 30. Babcock, who last coached in the NHL during the 2018-19 season with the Maple Leafs, will take over from former Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen, who held a record of 62-85-16 over two seasons.

Babcock has previously coached the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, and Maple Leafs. He achieved his greatest success with the Red Wings, leading them to a record of 458-223-105 and winning the Stanley Cup in 2008. However, he was fired by the Maple Leafs in November 2019 following allegations of mistreatment from some of his players, with former Red Wings star Johan Franzen accusing Babcock of verbal abuse, supported by Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios.

Andrew Brunette Lands Predators Coaching Role

The Nashville Predators have named Andrew Brunette as their new head coach, replacing John Hynes. Hynes had a record of 134-96-18 over four seasons but failed to advance past the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Brunette joins the Predators after serving as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils during the 2022-23 season.

Previously, Brunette was appointed associate head coach of the Florida Panthers in October 2021 after Joel Quenneville resigned as the team’s head coach. Following the 2021-22 season, the Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their new head coach. Brunette’s coaching experience also includes a successful tenure as head coach of the Panthers, where he achieved a 51-18-6 record and led the team to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division. However, they were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season.

Capitals Select Spencer Carbery as Head Coach

The Washington Capitals have chosen Spencer Carbery as their next head coach, as announced on May 30. Carbery previously served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2022-23 season, following his successful coaching career in the Capitals’ farm system.

Before joining the Maple Leafs, Carbery gained recognition as the head coach of the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, leading them from last place to the Calder Cup Playoffs. He was honored as the AHL Coach of the Year in 2020-21 after guiding the Bears to a first-place finish.

Carbery has also achieved success in the ECHL, winning the Coach of the Year award in 2014 while coaching the South Carolina Stingrays. Throughout his coaching career in the minor leagues, Carbery has consistently produced winning teams, with only one season finishing below .500.

The Capitals expressed interest in retaining Carbery within the organization after the 2021-22 season but he opted to accept the assistant coach position with the Maple Leafs. In Toronto, Carbery was responsible for overseeing the team’s power play, which operated at a successful rate of 26%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NHL coaching changes

Q: How many NHL coaching changes have occurred this offseason?

A: Six NHL teams have made coaching changes this offseason, filling all head coaching vacancies.

Q: Who did the New York Rangers hire as their new head coach?

A: The New York Rangers hired Peter Laviolette as their new head coach, replacing Gerard Gallant.

Q: Which team promoted Ryan Huska to the position of head coach?

A: The Calgary Flames promoted Ryan Huska to the position of head coach, replacing Darryl Sutter.

Q: Who is the new head coach for the Anaheim Ducks?

A: The Anaheim Ducks named Greg Cronin as their new head coach, succeeding Dallas Eakins.

Q: When is Mike Babcock expected to become the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets?

A: Mike Babcock is expected to become the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets after his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires on June 30.

Q: Who is the new head coach for the Nashville Predators?

A: Andrew Brunette has been named the new head coach for the Nashville Predators, taking over from John Hynes.

Q: Who did the Washington Capitals appoint as their new head coach?

A: The Washington Capitals appointed Spencer Carbery as their new head coach, succeeding Peter Laviolette.

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