2016-17 NHL Betting: Which Head Coach Will Be Fired First?

With a few weeks of the NHL season under the belt, Bovada began offering odds on which NHL head coach would be fired first. The list is somewhat limited, but that is to be expected with most coaches fairly locked into their jobs.

Although some bettors may be surprised to see this prop posted so early in the season, one coach had already been fired at this time last year. Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards was fired on October 21st after an 0-7-0 start to the year. You can find his replacement, the always colorful John Tortorella, listed below.

A total of three coaches were fired last season, including Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Johnston. That move ended up being relatively successful, I guess you could say. His replacement, Mike Sullivan, was hoisting the Stanley Cup just six months later.

This season, Bovada has two head coaches on the proverbial hot seat with a few others not too far behind.

Coach Bovada (11/8)
Willie Desjardins (VAN) +200
Jack Capuano (NYI) +210
Peter Laviolette (NAS) +650
Dave Tippett (ARI) +650
John Tortorella (CBJ) +1000
Paul Maurice (WIN) +1200
Michel Therrien (MON) +1500

The two names at the top of the list are in completely different situations. Willie Desjardins of the Canucks wasn’t given lofty expectations heading into the season. Vancouver was expected to be at the bottom of the league, which is where they find themselves. However, they just beat the Rangers last night in a game which they were the biggest underdog of the season. I would say that he is probably safe for the foreseeable future. The Canucks need to really distance themselves from the other cellar-dwellers for him to get the boot this early.

Jack Capuano of the Islanders might be in trouble, though. Led by John Tavares, the Islanders have had high hopes for the past few seasons, but have had trouble establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the league. This season, they are off to a sub-.500 start and a coaching change might be just what they need to jump start the team. Hopeful teams like the Islanders may try and recreate what the Penguins did last season and go with a mid-season coaching change rather than waiting until the offseason. For what it’s worth, the Islanders Stanley Cup odds have already dropped from 25/1 to 50/1.

Peter Laviolette and the Predators are in a similar situation to the Islanders. High hopes to start the season have quickly diminished. Laviolette has just two seasons in Nashville so they may be reluctant to give him an early boot, but keep an eye on the Predators over the next month or so.

Other coaches on this list are mostly on teams with no expectations, but the last name on the list is very interesting. Michel Therrien, who coaches the NHL-best Canadiens, is listed at +1500. Though his odds are low, his inclusion on the list is interesting. Therrien is in the fifth season of his second stint as the Canadiens head coach. His job wasn’t exactly secure this offseason after Montreal’s disappointing 2015-16 campaign, but something would have to go bad really quickly for him to be the first coach to be fired.

One surprising ommission is Lindy Ruff of the Stars. Dallas was looked at as a top five team heading into the year, but currently sit 25th in the league-wide standings, tied with Nashville. With two superstars, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, in their prime, the Stars would be foolish to waste any opportunities. While I’m not calling for Ruff’s head, I would keep a very close eye on the Stars during November. If they are still towards the bottom of the standings come the holiday season, the Stars should consider switching things up.

Make sure to keep up with the latest odds, betting trends, injuries, futures and more by visiting our free NHL odds page.

If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out to the Sports Insights staff by utilizing our live chat feature, commenting below, or emailing us at help@sportsinsights.com.

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Mark is a Sports Betting Specialist for Sports Insights. He can be reached at mark@sportsinsights.com.

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