So, Jacques Lemaire is out, leaving the NHL with four coaching vacancies sprinkled around the league: Atlanta, Columbus, New Jersey and Tampa Bay.
Three are troubled former expansion franchises and the Devils will be, incredibly, making their 11th coaching change since the last time Lemaire left town back in 1998. Job security may not be at the top of the list of what you're signing up for.
Here are the 14 names I've heard put out there as potential candidates for these jobs (with a hat tip to the folks on the Hotstove for a couple names):
Scott Arniel, head coach of Manitoba Moose Guy Boucher, head coach of Hamilton Bulldogs Bob Boughner, head coach (and part owner) of Windsor Spitfires Kevin Dineen, head coach of Portland Pirates John MacLean, head coach of Lowell Devils Paul MacLean, assistant coach of Detroit Red Wings Kevin McCarthy, assistant coach of Philadelphia Flyers Brad McCrimmon, assistant coach of Detroit Red Wings Claude Noel, interim head coach of Columbus Blue Jackets Brent Peterson, associate coach of Nashville Predators Jim Playfair, head coach of Abbotsford Heat Craig Ramsay, assistant coach of Boston Bruins Scott Stevens, assistant coach of New Jersey Devils John Torchetti, associate coach of Chicago Blackhawks
The vast majority of these coaches are currently tied up with the playoffs in their various leagues, so I doubt we can expect any hires in the very near future. As for who might go where, it's a bit like connecting the dots -- someone like Stevens is really only a candidate in New Jersey, and the same can be said for Noel in Columbus.
Boucher, who has had back-to-back terrific seasons in the QMJHL and now the AHL, could land anywhere, and so could Dineen, who has been rumoured in the running for an NHL job for years now.
Many of these names are recognizable to hockey fans given they played in the NHL, generally as role players, while others like Torchetti and Noel had long careers in the minor leagues. The trend of late has been teams turning to minor-league veterans like Bruce Boudreau, John Anderson and Scott Gordon, and given this list, that appears the way we're headed again.
UPDATE Two more names to consider: John Stevens and Don Lever.