We are very few games into the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season but by the sounds of things there is already at least one NHL head coach that is already feeling the heat. That is at least if you believe what National Hockey League insider Larry Brooks had to say on the subject this weekend in his latest piece for the New York Post.
According to Brooks New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes is already "feeling the heat" after a poor start from his Devils, a team that by all accounts made some major improvements to their roster over the course of the offseason. In fact you would be hard pressed to argue that any single general manager had a more successful summer than general manager Ray Shero of the New Jersey Devils and it is perhaps for that reason that the lack of success under Hynes has so quickly become a glaring issue. That may not be the only reason however, according to Brooks ownership may have become personally involved in the hockey operations of the Devils, and with such a big investment during the offseason the owners were expecting immediate results.
When ownership becomes involved in hockey personnel decisions and its prime acquisition is presented as a social-media marketing vehicle, there is little time and little patience for slow starts.
This is the case in New Jersey, where the Josh Harris-David Blitzer combination at the top of the directory enthusiastically encouraged — how’s that for a euphemism? — general manager Ray Shero to pull off the deal for the Spirit of 76, who arrived with a boatload of charisma and as one half of a sports celebrity power couple with fiancée Lindsey Vonn.
Brooks is of course referring to the offseason acquisition of star defenseman P.K. Subban, a player that is currently earning a whopping $10 million in real cash this season. When you combine that with the addition of first overall pick Jack Hughes and the pending free agency of the organization's biggest star in Taylor Hall it puts a ton of pressure on the organization, and by extension the head coach, to succeed. Brooks has strongly hinted that he believes this will leave Hynes with a much shorter leash than might have been expected for the relatively well-liked head coach, and in fact Brooks even believes he may know who Hynes potential replacement might be.
Again from Brooks:
So I was thinking about possible candidates to replace Hynes if and when the time should come and happened to flip on the NHL Network and there he was: Scott Stevens.
As popular as Hynes may be there is absolutely no chance he holds a candle to the popularity of legendary NHL defenseman Scott Stevens in the New Jersey market. As much as fans would hate to see a quality coach like Hynes have his tenure cut short, I believe their memories would be very short lived in that regard if Stevens was in fact named as the next head coach of the New Jersey Devils. Stevens does have previous coaching experience with both the Devils and the Minnesota Wild, so this one may not be as crazy as it sounds on the surface.