Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2022-23 Season

Every NHL head coach has played hockey at some time in their life prior to stepping behind the bench. Some were NHL superstars, others grinded it out in the minors for years, while others got into coaching soon after their junior or collegiate careers came to an end. All 32 NHL coaches for the 2022-23 season has had at least one hockey card issued picturing them — either as a player or as a coach, because not all of them were “good enough” to get a card while they were playing.  

Here is my annual list of rookie cards for every head coach in the NHL this season — updated to include Rick Tocchet’s replacement of Bruce Boudreau midway through the season. I’ve also included the comparative monetary value of each card — spoiler alert: most are worth very little — as well as how tough it is to track down…you know, in case you want to start a John Tortorella hockey card collection. 

Anaheim Ducks: Dallas Eakins

Rookie Card: 1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player #86
Average Value: 50 cents (standard version)
$3 (autographed version)
$5 (silver autographed version)
$10 (prismatic die-cut autographed version)
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (standard)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (autographed)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (silver autographed version
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆  (prismatic die-cut autographed version)
Age in Picture: Assuming that this photo was taken during Eakins’ second stint with the Panthers in 1997-98, he is 30 years old.
Age Today: 56 years old.
Fun Facts: Eakins made his NHL debut in February of 1993, but didn’t get a rookie card until 1997-98. In his first six years in the NHL, he played with the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Jets (again), Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers and Panthers (again). He’d also play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames. Talk about a journey, man!
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Edmonton Oilers (2013-14 & 2014-15); Anaheim Ducks (2019-20 to present).

Arizona Coyotes:  André Tourigny

Rookie Card: 2020-21 By Cards Team Canada IIHF U20 World Championship #25
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Age in Picture: 45 years old.
Age Today: 48 years old.
Fun Fact: Touringy was a head coach in junior hockey for 14 years. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Arizona Coyotes (2021-22 to present).

Boston Bruins: Jim Montgomery 

Rookie Cards: 1993-94 Donruss #300, Fleer Power Play #431, Fleer Ultra #413, O-Pee-Chee Premier #488, Parkhurst #176, Pinnacle #438, Score American #621 (above), Score Canadian #621, Topps Premier #488 & Upper Deck #472
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 
Age in Picture: 24 years old.
Age Today: 53 years old.
Fun Fact: Montgomery had 10 different rookie cards issued during the 1993-94 season, which was his rookie year. He has the most rookie cards of any coach on this list. However, there are also parallel versions of his Topps, O-Pee-Chee, Score American, Score Canadian and Parkhurst cards, for a total of 15 different Montgomery RCs to collect.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Dallas Stars (2018-19 to 2019-20); Boston Bruins (2022-23 to present)

Buffalo Sabres: Don Granato

Second-Ever Card: 2000-01 Choice Worcester IceCats AHL #30. (I don’t have — and could not track down — Granato’s first-ever card, so his second-ever card will have to do here. Image courtesy of Center Ice Collectibles.) 
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: Around 34 years old. 
Age Today: 55 years old.
Fun Fact: Don Granato is the younger brother of former NHLer Tony Granato and the older brother of former Olympian and Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience:
Buffalo Sabres (midway through the 2020-21 season to present). 

Calgary Flames: Darryl Sutter

 Rookie Card: 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee #65 & Topps #W77 (pictured)
Average Value: $1 to $2.
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆☆
Age in Picture:  22 years old. 
Age Today: 64 years old. 
Fun Fact: Darryl is one of six Sutter Brothers to play in the NHL. His brothers Brian, Duane, Brent, Rich and Ron also played in the league. Darryl’s son Brett played in the NHL, too. Sutter’s Topps rookie card was only available in some U.S. markets due to regional distribution
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Chicago Blackhawks (1992-93 to 1994-95); San Jose Sharks (1997-98 to 2002-03); Calgary Flames (2002-03 to 2005-06); Los Angeles Kings (2011-12 to 2016-17); Calgary Flames (2020-21 to present). 

Carolina Hurricanes: Rod Brind’Amour

Rookie Cards: 1990-91 Bowman #23, O-Pee-Chee #332, Pro Set #259, Score American #131 (pictured), Score Canadian #131, Topps #332, Upper Deck #36 & Upper Deck French #36
Average Value: $1 for his Upper Deck RC — and that might be pushing it — and 25 cents each for the others.
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Age Today:  52 years old.
Fun Fact: Brind’Amour’s rookie cards came out during the 1990-91 season, and were so overproduced that they have virtually no value today. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Carolina Hurricanes (2019-20 to present).

Chicago Blackhawks: Luke Richardson

Rookie Card: 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee #245 
Average Value: 50 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 18 or 19 years old. 
Age Today: 53 years old.
Fun Facts:  Richardson played 21 years in the NHL. Out of all the head coaches on this list, Richardson has the second-most amount of regular season games played in the NHL (1,419) after Rod Brind’Amour (1,484). 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: This is Richardson’s first season as an NHL head coach. 

Colorado Avalanche: Jared Bednar

bednarFirst-Ever Card: 1991-92 11 Seventh Inning Sketch WHL #11
Average Value: 50 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Age Today: 50 years old.
Fun Fact: Bednar grinded out a nine-year career playing minor league hockey, followed by another 14 years of coaching before getting a shot as an NHL coach. He played for three different teams — Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders — during his final year of junior hockey.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Colorado Avalanche (2016-17 to present).

Columbus Blue Jackets: Brad Larsen

Rookie Cards: 1994-95 Parkhurst SE #269, Select #164 & Upper Deck SP #187 (pictured).
Average Value: 50 cents 
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (Parkhurst SE)
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (Select)
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (Upper Deck SP)
Age in Picture: 17 years old. 
Age Today: 45 years old. 
Fun Facts: Larsen was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1995, but then traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. The Avalanche did not sign Larsen, so he re-entered the NHL Draft and was selected by…the Avalanche! This time, the Avs signed him. Larsen was traded three times in his career — and all three times, he was traded for a defenseman. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Columbus Blue Jackets (2021-22 to present).

Dallas Stars: Peter DeBoer

First-Ever Card: 1989-90 ProCards IHL #189
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 21 years old.
Age Today: 54 years old.
Fun Facts: DeBoer was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 1988, and traded to the Canucks in 1989, but didn’t crack the lineup for either team. His earliest card pictures him with the Milwaukee Admirals of the old International Hockey League.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Florida Panthers (2008-09 to 2010-11); New Jersey Devils (2011-12 to 2014-15); San Jose Sharks (2015-16 to 2019-20); Vegas Golden Knights (2020-21 to 2021-22); Dallas Stars (2022-23 to present).  

Detroit Red Wings: Derek Lalonde

First-Ever Card: 2014-15 Choice Marketing Toledo Walleye #20
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 42 years old
Age Today: 50 years old. 
Fun Fact: Lalonde has been involved in coaching over the past 20 years in various leagues. But he only had two cards, issued by the Toledo Walleye in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: This is Lalonde’s first season as an NHL head coach. 

Edmonton Oilers: Jay Woodcroft

First-Ever Card: 2000-01 Missouri River Otters #22
Average Value:  $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – but only because I don’t own one 🙂 
Age in Picture: 24 years old. 
Age Today: 46 years old. 
Fun Fact: I don’t own this card. It exists, but I have not been able to find any recent sales of it, or even a picture of it. ( And I thought finding Alain Vigneault’s first card was tough!) Fortunately, Puck Junk group member Sean McCafferty has the elusive first-ever card of Jay Woodcroft and so generously shared a scan of it. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Edmonton Oilers (midway through the 2021-22 season to present).

Florida Panthers: Paul Maurice

First-Ever Card: 1993-94 Detroit Jr. Red Wings #23
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Age Today: 56 years old.
Fun Facts: Maurice wore two hats, as both the head coach and general manager of the OHL’s Detroit Jr. Red Wings.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Hartford Whalers (1995-96 & 1996-97); Carolina Hurricanes (1997-98 to 2003-04); Toronto Maple Leafs (2006-07 & 2007-08); Carolina Hurricanes (2008-09 to 2011-12); Winnipeg Jets (2013-14 to 2021-22); Florida Panthers (2022-23 to present). 

Los Angeles Kings: Todd McLellan

First-Ever Card: 1983-84 Saskatoon Blades Team Issue Set #14
Average Value: $1 to $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: Well, the card does state on the front that he is 16.
Age Today: 55 years old.
Fun Facts: McLellan played in only five games with the Islanders, so he never had an NHL card. Funny thing is, in four years of junior hockey, two years of minor-pro hockey and 25 years of coaching at the various ranks, McLellan has exactly three hockey cards; one from juniors (pictured), one as a minor league player and one as a minor league coach.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: San Jose Sharks (2008-09 to 2014-15); Edmonton Oilers (2015-16 to 2018-19); Los Angeles Kings (2019-20 to present).

Minnesota Wild: Dean Evason

Rookie Cards: 1987-88 Topps #166 & O-Pee-Chee #166 (pictured)
Average Value: 50 cents to $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 22 years old 
Age Today: 58 years old
Fun Facts: Evason was the captain of the Canadian National Team during the 1997 World Championships. The team won the gold medal. He has been involved in coaching for more than 20 years, though this is his first stint as an NHL head coach. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Minnesota Wild (2019-20 to present)

Montreal Canadiens: Martin St-Louis

Rookie Cards: 1998-99 Pacific Crown Royale #20,  1998-99 Pacific Dynagon Ice #28, 1998-99 Pacific Omega #38, & 1998-99 Upper Deck #234 (pictured)
Average Value: $3 to $5 each. 
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 23 years old.
Age Today: 47 years old. 
Fun Fact: St. Louis is the only member of the Hockey Hall of Fame on this list. He also had ZERO coaching experience at ANY level before he got hired by the Canadiens, though he was a special teams consultant with the Blue Jackets under John Tortorella. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Montreal Canadiens (midway through the 2021-22 season to present).

Nashville Predators: John Hynes

First-Ever Card: 2009-10 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins #28
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 34 years old.
Age Today: 47 years old.
Fun Facts: When Hynes was hired by the Devils, he was, at the time, the youngest head coach in the NHL. He played college hockey at Boston University for four years, and participated in four straight Frozen Four tournaments.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New Jersey Devils (2015-16 to 2019-20); Nashville Predators (2019-20 to present).

New Jersey Devils: Lindy Ruff

Rookie Card: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #319
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 or 20 years old
Age Today: 62 years old
Fun Facts: Even though Ruff was a regular in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1989-90, he only had mainstream hockey cards issued every other year during his career: 1980-81, 1982-83, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1988-89 and 1990-91. Ruff has coached in the NHL — either as an assistant or a head coach — for every year since 1993-94. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Buffalo Sabres (1997-98 to 2012-13); Dallas Stars (2013-14 to 2016-17); New Jersey Devils (2020-21)

New York Islanders: Lane Lambert

Rookie Card: 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee #57
Average Value: 50 cents 
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 or 20 years old. 
Age Today: 58 years old. 
Fun Facts: The 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set included a whopping 20 cards of Detroit Red Wings players, including rookie cards of Lambert, Randy Ladoceur, Kelly Kisio, Greg Stefan, and Steve Yzerman. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: This is Lambert’s first season as an NHL head coach. 

New York Rangers: Gerard Gallant

Rookie Cards: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee #67 & Topps #67 (pictured)
Average Value:
50 cents to $1 (either version).
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 23 years old. 
Age Today: 59 years old. 
Fun Fact: It took Gallant three seasons in the NHL until he was deemed worthy enough to get a rookie card. All he had to do was lead the Red Wings in goals in 1986-87 and be an alternate captain to get the attention of the card companies. Still, both Topps and O-Pee-Chee goofed and misspelled his first name as “Gerald” instead of “Gerard.” 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-04 to 2006-07); Florida Panthers (2014-15 to 2016-17); Vegas Golden Knights (2017-18 to 2019-20); New York Rangers (2021-22 to present).

Ottawa Senators: D.J. Smith

Rookie Cards: 1997-98 Donruss #206, Donruss Canadian Ice #142, Donruss Limited #37 & Upper Deck #194 (pictured)
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: Around 20 years old.
Age Today: 45 years old.
Fun Fact: Smith played 8 games for the Maple Leafs in 1996-97, which was good enough to be included in some card sets next season. All of his cards from junior call him “Denis Smith” instead of “D.J. Smith.”
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Ottawa Senators (2019-20 to present).

Philadelphia Flyers: John Tortorella

1988-89 ProCards - John Tortorella

First-Ever Card: 1988-89 ProCards New Haven Nighthawks
Average Value: $1
Age in Picture: 30 years old.
Age Today: 64 years old.
Fun Facts: “Torts” only played pro in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League — a league known more for its fighting than issuing trading cards. Thus, his first card is from the awesome 1988-89 ProCards AHL/IHL set, when he was an assistant coach with the New Haven Nighthawks. The back of the card offers absolutely no information whatsoever.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Rangers (1999-2000, as an interim head coach); Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-01 to 2007-08); New York Rangers (2008-09 to 2012-13); Vancouver Canucks (2013-14); Columbus Blue Jackets (2015-16 to 2020-21); Philadelphia Flyers (2022-23 to present). 

Pittsburgh Penguins: Mike Sullivan

Rookie Card: 1991-92 Parkhurst #383
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 23 or 24 years old.
Age Today: 54 years old.
Fun Facts: Despite playing in 64 games with the San Jose Sharks in 1991-92 — 6th most on the team — only Parkhurst bothered to make a card of Sullivan that year. The back of the card states that Sullivan “appears to be on his way towards a solid NHL career.” That turned out to be true, since he played in 709 NHL games; but even more so if you consider his back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships as the Penguins’ head coach.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Boston Bruins (2003-04 & 2005-06); Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16 to present).

San Jose Sharks: David Quinn

First-Ever Card: 1992-93 Cleveland Lumberjacks #9
Average Value:
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Age Today: 56 years old.
Fun Fact: In three years of playing college, two years of playing minor pro and 19 years of coaching at the various ranks, this is actually the only trading card of Quinn ever made.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Rangers (2018-19 to 2020-21); San Jose Sharks (2022-23 to present). 

Seattle Kraken: Dave Hakstol

First-Ever Card: 1992-93 Indianapolis Ice Team Issue Set
Average Value:
$15 — yes, you read that right. 
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Age in Picture: 24 years old.
Age Today: 54 years old. 
Fun Facts: Since Hakstol is the first-ever head coach for the Seattle Kraken, naturally there has been a bump in interest in his cards. However, his only cards were either issued by minor league or collegiate teams and aren’t printed in the same quantities as, say, Rod Brind’Amour’s rookie cards from 1990-91. So, this minor league card of Hakstol isn’t very easy to find, and has sold for upwards of $15. It isn’t a card that shows up for sale too often, so Kraken fans wanting this card will look hard and be patient. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Philadelphia Flyers (2015-16 to 2018-19); Seattle Kraken (2021-22 to present).

St. Louis Blues: Craig Berube

Rookie Card: 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee #448, Pro Set #498 (pictured), Upper Deck #450
Average Value:
25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture:
24 or 25 years old. 
Age Today:
57 years old. 
Fun Facts:
Berube started the 2018-19 season as an Associate Coach for the Blues, was promoted to interim head coach when Mike Yeo was fired, then named head coach for real when the Blues won the Stanley Cup.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Philadelphia Flyers (2013-14 & 2014-15); St. Louis Blues (2018-19 to present).

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jon Cooper

First-Ever Card: 2010-11 Norfolk Admirals #10
Average Value: $1 to $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 43 years old.
Age Today: 55 years old
Fun Fact: Cooper has exactly two hockey cards to his name — and he is striking the same pose on both of his cards. You know, arms crossed, with a serious look on his face. 

NHL Head Coaching Experience: Tampa Bay Lightning (2012-13 to present)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Sheldon Keefe

Rookie Cards: 1999-2000 Black Diamond #96, MVP Stanley Cup Edition #195, Ovation #64, SP Authentic #123, Topps #264 (pictured), Upper Deck #309, Ultimate Victory #107 & Victory #361
Average Value: 50 cents to $1 for most; $2 for his Black Diamond RC. 
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old
Age Today: 42 years old 
Fun Fact: Even though Keefe is pictured with his junior team, the Barrie Colts, this is considered his “NHL Rookie Card” because it was a part of a licensed set of NHL trading cards. Confusing? Yes it is! 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Toronto Maple Leafs (2019-20 to present)

Vancouver Canucks: Rick Tocchet

Rookie Card: 1987-88 Topps #2 (above) & O-Pee-Chee #2
Average Value: $4 (Topps) and $6 (O-Pee-Chee)
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 
Age in Picture: Around 23 years old.
Age Today: 58 years old.
Fun Fact: It took Tocchet three full seasons in the NHL (and 751 penalty minutes) before the card companies noticed him and deemed him worthy of a trading card.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Tampa Bay Lightning (2008-09 & 2009-10); Arizona Coyotes (2017-18 to 2020-21); Vancouver Canucks (midway through the 2022-23 season to present). 

Vegas Golden Knights: Bruce Cassidy

First NHL Card: 1985-86 Chicago Blackhawks Team Issue Set
Average Value: $3 to $5
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Age in Picture: Around 20 years old.
Age Today: 57 years old.
Fun Facts: Cassidy never had a mainstream rookie card (Topps, O-Pee-Chee or otherwise) during his NHL career, but he was included in the 1985-86 Blackhawks team-issued set, despite playing just one game for the ‘Hawks in 1983-84 and then spending the entire 1984-85 season in junior. The ‘Hawks had high hopes for their former first round pick, but injuries limited him to just one NHL and four AHL games in 1985-86. This particular card is very difficult to find. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Washington Capitals (2002-03 & 2003-04); Boston Bruins (2016-17 to 2021-22); Vegas Golden Knights (2022-23 to present). 

Washington Capitals: Peter Laviolette

Rookie Cards: 1993-94 Fleer PowerPlay #508 & Fleer Ultra #488 (pictured)
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 29 years old.
Age Today: 58 years old.
Fun Fact: P-Lav played 12 games with the Rangers in 1988-89, but did not get a rookie card until the 1993-94 season, when he captained Team USA at the 1994 Winter Olympics. That year, card company Fleer included players from Team USA and Team Canada in its PowerPlay and Ultra sets. This is considered one of Laviolette’s two rookies card, even though it actually came out five years after he played in the NHL.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Islanders (2001-02 & 2002-03); Carolina Hurricanes (2003-04 to 2008-09); Philadelphia Flyers (2009-10 to 2013-14); Nashville Predators (2014-15 to 2019-20); Washington Capitals (2020-21 to present). 

Winnipeg Jets: Rick Bowness

Rookie Card: 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee #265
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 21 or 22 years old. 
Age Today: 68
Fun Fact: Bowness was traded from the Atlanta Flames to the Detroit Red Wings prior to the start of the 1977-78 season, so O-Pee-Chee added the text “Now with Red Wings” on Bowness’ first-ever card. It sucks when you are “traded” on your own rookie card. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Winnipeg Jets (1988-89); Boston Bruins (1991-92); Ottawa Senators (1992-93 to 1995-96); New York Islanders (1996-97 to 1997-98); Phoenix Coyotes (2003-04); Dallas Stars (2019-20 to 2021-22); Winnipeg Jets (2022-23 to present).  

Just a few thought that came to mind when I compiled this year’s list of head coach rookie cards.

First, take values with a grain of salt. Sometimes a “quarter card” is a “dollar card,” depending on the time and the place. I bought the entire 1992-93 Indianapolis Ice team set for $5 years ago, but saw the David Hakstol card from that set sell for $15 during the Kraken’s first season. A Rod Brind’Amour rookie card is the stuff of quarter boxes at card shows, but might sell for a buck or two in North Carolina because he’s currently the Hurricanes’ coach. And while that Bruce Cassidy card is tough to find, it isn’t particularly sought-after, hence the relatively-cheap ($3 to $5) value. 

Rarity is based on my experience on how easy or tough the card was for me to find, and how hard it is to find in general. Using that Bruce Cassidy card as an example, even though I live in Chicago, it was a tough card for me to find, as it was given away at a Blackhawks’ home game in 1985. Contrast that with Luke Richardson’s rookie card, which was printed in the tens of thousands, or Craig Berube’s rookie cards, which were probably printed in even larger numbers. 

Another interesting tidbit: when I started making my annual list of rookie cards for NHL head coaches back in 2017-18, there were 31 teams, and 13 of those 31 coaches are STILL coaching in the NHL today. That means about 40% of the head coaches from six seasons ago are head coaches in 2022-23. Three of those 13 — Jared Bednar (Avalanche), Mike Sullivan (Penguins), and John Cooper (Lightning) — are with the same teams as they were in 2017-18, while the other 10 have switched teams.

That list would probably be bigger if Bill Peters, Joel Quenneville, and Mike Babcock all did not experience their own personal “fall from grace” over the past few seasons, with each leaving the coaching profession as a result. Peters made racial slurs, Quenneville was complicit in the Kyle Beach sexual abuse cover-up, and Babcock was an absolute tool that no one wanted to play for. Yet, had all of this not come to light, there’s a good chance that they’d still be NHL head coaches, though perhaps with different teams. 

Draw whatever conclusion you want, but when 13 names — roughly 40% — of the names are the same as they were six seasons later, it shows how slow the NHL is to try out new coaches and/or new ideas. Like, if John Hynes couldn’t cut it in New Jersey, why does Nashville think he’s the one to lead the Predators to the promised land? How is Rick Tocchet going to save the Canucks when his overall track record has been subpar? 

Granted, some of these guys are great coaches that should be in the NHL, such as Gerard Gallant, John Cooper, and Rick Bowness. And even though Darryl Sutter has been around the block seven or eight times, he did win the Jack Adams Trophy for being the NHL’s best head coach — and that was in his 19th season of being a head coach! So, even “lifers” who sometimes seem like they should be thinking of retirement still have a lot to offer. 

Anyway, which rookie card from this list do you like the best? Leave a comment and let me know.

Love hockey? Join the Puck Junk Facebook Group, subscribe to Puck Junk on Apple Podcasts and  YouTube, and support this site at the Puck Junk Online Shop

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *