It has been a seismic 12 months in the NHL coaching fraternity.
Since the start of the 2021-22 season, there have been coaching changes for the Canucks, Canadiens, Oilers, Bruins, Golden Knights, Panthers, Islanders, Sharks, Blackhawks, Flyers, Red Wings, Jets and Stars.
That’s more than a dozen organizations with new head coaches, if you’re keeping score.
To catch up, the offseason hires were:
• Peter DeBoer in Dallas (a four-year deal at a $4.25 million average salary)
• Bruce Cassidy in Vegas (five years at $4.5 million)
• Paul Maurice in Florida (three years at just under $4 million)
• John Tortorella in Philadelphia (four years at $4 million)
• Rick Bowness in Winnipeg (two years at $2.5 million, with a club option for a third year closer to $3 million)
• Jim Montgomery in Boston (three years at just under $2 million)
• David Quinn in San Jose (three years at just under $2.5 million)
• Luke Richardson in Chicago (four years at $1.5 million)
• Derek Lalonde in Detroit (term unconfirmed, but I believe three years)
• Lane Lambert in Long Island (term unconfirmed, but I believe three years with an option)
Martin St. Louis (three years in Montreal at, I believe, just south of $3 million per season) and Jay Woodcroft (three years at $2 million in Edmonton) also signed new deals after taking over their respective teams midway through last season.
We should also mention that veteran head coach Mike Sullivan signed a three-year extension in Pittsburgh, which gives him five years in total left. He had this season and next on his existing deal. The extension is believed to be worth around $5.5 million a year when it kicks in for the 2024-25 season, which will put Sullivan among the highest-paid coaches in the league. In my opinion, it’s totally deserved.
While not 100 percent confirmed, I believe Jon Cooper is currently the highest-paid coach in the league, at around $5.3 million per season (not counting the fact that Mike Babcock is owed another $5.875 million from the Maple Leafs for this season, the last of that eight-year deal).