When the Boston Bruins fired Claude Julien in February, Joel Quenneville took over as the longest-serving NHL head coach.
Hired in October 2008, Quenneville enters his 10th season with the Chicago Blackhawks amid a continuously rotating cast of coaching peers. Seven teams hired new coaches this offseason, including the first head coach in the history of the league’s 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.
That doesn’t include the coaches who took over at some point last season, including Julien (Montreal), Mike Yeo (St. Louis), Doug Weight (New York), and Bruce Cassidy (Boston).
Here’s a look from The Canadian Press at the newest hires and the tasks that lie ahead:
Ken Hitchcock, Dallas Stars
Replaces: Lindy Ruff
Previous NHL head coaching experience: Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus, St. Louis
Last job: Blues head coach
Hitchcock will try to do for the Stars (again) what he managed to accomplish in St. Louis: help a floundering team reach new heights. The 65-year-old has a penchant for turning around programs. The Blues missed the playoffs in five of six seasons before his arrival, but didn’t miss once with him on board and came within two wins of the Stanley Cup final in 2016. The Stars need a heavy dose of defense, and Hitchcock — who guided Dallas to its first and only Stanley Cup in 1999 — has shown he can deliver. Over his five full seasons with the Blues, the club ranked fourth in goals against and second in shots against, all while boasting the NHL’s top penalty kill.
Rick Tocchet, Arizona Coyotes
Replaces: Dave Tippett
Previous NHL head coaching experience: Tampa Bay
Last job: Penguins assistant coach
When the Coyotes and Tippett agreed to part ways in the offseason, a door opened for the 53-year-old Tocchet to steer his own team once again. Briefly the Lightning head coach and a top assistant for Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cups, Tocchet is tasked with growing a youthful Arizona squad still beleaguered by relocation questions and five straight playoff misses. Tocchet, a one-time Coyotes player, helped operate a largely successful power play with the Penguins and was known as an approachable ear and well of wisdom for players like Phil Kessel.
Phil Housley, Buffalo…