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McLellan, Babcock Off The Market, But Plenty of NHL Head Coaches Still Available

The Edmonton Oilers presented Todd McLellan as their new head coach on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs lured Mike Babcock to Toronto with a monster salary and earlier in the week the Philadelphia Flyers hired Dave Hakstol. But even with McLellan and Babcock off the market, there are still several experienced head coaches out there for teams looking to head in a new direction.

Here is a list of some of the bigger names available.

John Tortorella

Tortorella has a very solid resume and a Stanley Cup ring from his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s a larger-than-life character that is always good for a quote. His relationship with the media has been spotty at best, but he can handle the pressure of coaching in a big market, something he proved while coaching the New York Rangers.

Dan Bylsma

Bylsma spent five and a half seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won the Stanley Cup in his first season with the team back in 2009 after taking over for Michel Therrien. Bylsma also has experience from coaching the U.S. national team in the World Championships. However, there are still some questions about if Bylsma can handle a team without superstars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Mike Keenan

Keenan goes by the name “Iron Mike” for his tough and abrasive style of coaching. It might not sit well with all players, but he has been successful and led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup win in 1994. He went over to the KHL in 2013 and won the Gagarin Cup with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, making him the first North American coach to win both the Stanley Cup and the Gagarin Cup. He’s one of the most experienced coaches in the game today, and is fifth among NHL coaches in overall wins.

Claude Noel

Noel has gone through the system and has coached on the ECHL, IHL, AHL and NHL level. He did a decent job with the Winnipeg Jets, seeing that he didn’t have that much to work with. He’s yet to take an NHL team into the postseason, and might have to take an assisting job before getting another shot at being a head coach.

Ron Wilson

Wilson has a whole truckload of experience, having coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Add in the experience from coaching Team USA at the Olympic Games in 2010, and it’s not hard to see that Wilson should be a candidate for teams looking for a new coach. His time in Toronto was a bit chaotic, but that’s not just Wilson’s fault, but a combination of the media pressure and the team not living up to expectations. He’s a straight shooter and is labeled as a tough coach, something that doesn’t sit well with all players. But if he can get a team that needs a kick in the butt, he could be a good short-term solution in a rebuild.

Marc Crawford

Crawford is currently the coach of ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League A. He has more than 1,000 NHL games on his resume, having coached in Quebec/Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas. He also coached Team Canada in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. He won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, as well as winning the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year. It’s hard to gauge if Crawford is interested in returning to the NHL after his last two jobs with LA and Dallas were pretty disappointing. He might opt to stay in Europe and enjoy the good life in Switzerland where he’s already has had the opportunity to celebrate a championship.

Andy Murray

Murray has been coaching for nearly 40 years now and has a long resume that includes several NHL assistant coaching jobs and head coaching jobs for the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues in addition to some very successful years as coach for Team Canada. Murray is currently coaching at the collegiate level, heading the Western Michigan Broncos’ hockey program.

Guy Boucher

Boucher coached the Tampa Bay Lightning between 2010 – 2013, and after getting the team to the Eastern Conference Final in his first season in charge, things went downhill. The following season the Bolts missed the playoffs and then he got sacked 31 games into the 2012-1013 season. He went over the the Swiss league to coach SC Bern in January 2014, and he has said in interviews that NHL teams have been calling him. We’ll have to wait and see if Boucher will get another chance in the NHL. If he makes it back, maybe we can finally get an answer to how he got that cool scar on his face.

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