NHL head coaching tracker: Blue Jackets reportedly want to employ Mike Babcock, while the Ducks sign Greg Cronin

The NHL coaching rotation is now underway.

The Stanley Cup Final is now taking place, but for many NHL teams, the offseason has already started. There have already been head coaching changes on numerous teams.

The New York Rangers have one of the largest open head coaching positions. The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers in seven games, eliminating them from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After just two seasons in charge, New York fired head coach Gerard Gallant shortly after Game 7. However, the Rangers have shown interest in a number of possibilities, including Peter Laviolette, Patrick Roy, and John Hynes.

After parting ways with seasoned head coach Darryl Sutter, the Calgary Flames are also without a head coach. The Flames’ bench boss over the previous three seasons, Sutter, did not make the playoffs in two of those years. Calgary amassed a 38-27-17 record (93 points) in the inaugural season of the post-Johnny Gaudreau era, placing fifth in the Pacific Division.

We’ll have you covered with our tracker of all coaching moves while the NHL head coaching carousel is still in motion.

Ducks hire Greg Cronin

On Monday, the Anaheim Ducks announced Greg Cronin as their new head coach. Dallas Eakins, the previous head coach who led the Ducks to a 100-147-44 record in four seasons, had his contract not renewed by the organization.

Pat Verbeek, general manager of the Ducks, stated in a statement, “While we did cast a broad net in searching for the new head coach, it became evident to me that Greg would be the ideal match for the post. “Since we were a young team, I thought we needed someone who could teach us the finer parts of the game and who has vast experience working with outstanding young players to help them become great NHL players. We are thrilled to designate Greg the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks because he has accomplished all of that and more.

With 36 years of coaching and player development experience, Cronin, 60, brings a wealth of knowledge. He served the Toronto Maple Leafs for 12 years as an NHL assistant coach, and he also served the New York Islanders twice.

Cronin previously spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University before taking the helm of the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League in 2018. During his time with the franchise, the Eagles have a 164-104-30 record and have advanced to the Calder Cup Playoffs in four of his five seasons.

Blue Jackets will reportedly hire Mike Babcock when contract expires

Mike Babcock, a seasoned head coach, is anticipated to be hired by the Columbus Blue Jackets, according to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. When Babcock’s contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires on June 30, the agreement is anticipated to become final. Since coaching the Maple Leafs for 23 games in the 2018–19 season, Babcock hasn’t done so in the NHL.

Brad Larsen, who led the Blue Jackets for two seasons and compiled a 62-85-16 record, will be replaced by Babcock.

Over the years, Babcock has served as the head coach of the Ducks, Red Wings, and Maple Leafs. The Red Wings were the team that the 60-year-old bench boss had the most success with, as he helped Detroit to a 458-223-105 record. With the Red Wings, Babcock won the Stanley Cup in 2008.
Babcock was appointed as the Maple Leafs’ new head coach prior to the start of the 2015–16 campaign. Three years in a row, the Maple Leafs were eligible for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they were never able to go past the opening round.

After being accused of treating some of his players unfairly on numerous occasions, Babcock was sacked in November 2019. Johan Franzen, a former Red Wings player, charged Babcock with verbal abuse, and Chris Chelios, a Hall of Fame defender, backed up Franzen’s allegations.

Andrew Brunette lands with Predators

The Nashville Predators fired head coach John Hynes and announced the hiring of Andrew Brunette as the team’s new leader.

In four seasons as the Predators’ head coach, Hynes amassed a 134-96-18 record, but he was never able to advance his squad past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 48-year-old’s contract with Nashville still has one year to run.

The 2022–23 NHL season saw Brunette work as the New Jersey Devils’ assistant coach. Following Joel Quenneville’s resignation as the team’s head coach in October 2021, he was appointed the associate head coach of the Florida Panthers. The Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their next head coach following the 2021–22 campaign. Brunette turned down a key assistant coaching position with the team in Florida in favor of joining the coaching staff of the Devils for the 2022–23 season.

Brunette amassed a 51-18-6 record while serving as the Panthers’ head coach, and he also guided the team to victory in the Atlantic Division.The Tampa Bay Lightning ultimately defeated the Panthers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that year.

Capitals tab Spencer Carbery as next head coach

The Washington Capitals announced on May 30 that Spencer Carbery has been chosen as their next head coach. Carbery worked as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2022–2023 season after moving up through the Capitals’ organization’s minor league system.

The Capitals decided to split company with former head coach Peter Laviolette after the 2022–23 season before hiring Carbery. Laviolette technically wasn’t let go because his contract with Washington had already ended.

Carbery, 41, has had success in the past as a coach in the Capitals farm system. For three seasons, he led the Hershey Bears, an AHL team that is a member of the Capitals, from last place to the Calder Cup Playoffs. Carbery won the AHL Coach of the Year award in 2020–21 after guiding the Bears to a first-place finish.
Along with his accomplishments in the AHL, Carbery’s tenure with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2014 saw him win Coach of the Year accolades in the ECHL. Carbery only experienced one season with a team that finished below.500 while playing in the minor levels.

Following the 2021–22 campaign, the Capitals expressed interest in keeping Carbery on staff, but he chose to join the Maple Leafs as an assistant coach instead.
Under Carbery’s leadership, the Maple Leafs’ power play flourished this past season, converting 26% of their opportunities to rank second in the NHL behind the Edmonton Oilers.