Joel Quenneville’s abrupt dismissal from the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday sent shockwaves through the hockey world. It may also send ripple effects through the NHL landscape, as a coach of Quenneville’s caliber is unlikely to stay unemployed for long, assuming he has interest in another job.
The 60-year-old Coach Q has an incredibly impressive resumé. He’s the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214. Since taking his first coaching job with the St. Louis Blues in 1997, Quenneville has only ever finished a season without qualifying for a playoff berth twice. He won three Stanley Cups in Chicago in a six-year span, and departed the Blackhawks as the winningest coach in franchise history.
As such, Quenneville’s availability is a rare commodity on the coaching circuit, and there are likely several clubs that could look to try to pounce and scoop him up. Here are five destinations, in order of likelihood, that could be favorites to land him.
St. Louis Blues
After a promising offseason in St. Louis, the Blues are off to a very disappointing start and currently sit at the bottom of the Central division — yes, even below the Blackhawks. Quenneville got his coaching start with the Blues and stayed behind the bench in St. Louis from 1997-2004, leading the club to seven straight playoff berths — including a Presidents’ Trophy in 1999-2000. If the Blues decide to move on from Mike Yeo — a significant possibility — then a Quenneville reunion could make a lot of sense.
The Panthers have seemed to be on the brink of relevance for years, but they just haven’t been able to get over the hump. They’ve gone through quite a bit of shuffling in the front office and behind the bench of late, but current general manager Dale Tallon was the guy who hired Quenneville to take over for Denis Savard in Chicago. Tallon could once again bring the axe down on his guy in favor of Quenneville. It’s hard to argue against how it worked out the first time around.
Detroit Red Wings
The once-proud hockey city (erm, Hockeytown) of Detroit has had some dark years of late, and Jeff Blashill hasn’t done much since taking over for Mike Babcock behind the bench in 2015, so his time could be limited. (He also hasn’t had a whole lot to work with over there, but that’s a different story for a different day.) While Detroit may not be the most luxurious coaching destination at the present time, taking over during a rebuild and helping to revive the franchise could be an appealing challenge for Quenneville.
The Oilers got off to a pretty dreadful start this season, but they’ve since had a bit of a resurgence so they may not be ready to can Todd McLellan just yet. However, the pressure is on for general manager Peter Chiarelli to right the ship in Edmonton after a disastrous campaign last year, and if he doesn’t he could be out of a job. If Chiarelli thinks that Quenneville can do more with McDavid & Co. than McLellan can, then don’t rule out the possibility of a swap.
Randy Carlyle is on the hot seat in Anaheim and it was previously believed that general manager Bob Murray wanted to give him some more time to figure things out considering how many injuries the Ducks have dealt with in the early going, but Quenneville’s availability could change things. One Southern California coach has already been axed this season, and it’s not implausible that Carlyle could soon be next.
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