The Colorado Avalanche should attempt to hire a proven NHL coach — namely Darrly Sutter, who was recently let go by the LA Kings.
The Colorado Avalanche have young, demoralized players. There may be a lot of new faces on the team next season, but there are still going to be youngsters such as Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon who had to live through the disaster of the 2016-17 season.
This is not the team for a relatively inexperienced coach early on in his NHL career. The Colorado Avalanche would be better served by hiring a veteran coach who has all the tricks of systems and player management figured out.
After failing to make the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings relived Darryl Sutter of his duties. Colorado should pursue him as the next head coach of the Avalanche.
Darryl Sutter as Coach
Darrly Sutter has been an NHL coach since Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was a baby — since 1992. Before becoming head coach of the Los Angeles Kings (2011-2017), he coached the Chicago Blackhawks (1992-95), San Jose Sharks (1997-2003) and Calgary Flames (2002-06).
Sutter’s all-time record is 635-467-101-82. (The last number indicates overtime losses with 101 indicating ties.) That’s a winning record, by the way — .520.
Sutter’s coaching record with the LA Kings is more impressive — 225-147-53. That’s good for winningest coach in franchise history. Oh, and he coached the Kings to two Stanley Cup victories.
In fact, in all those years of coaching, his teams only failed to qualify for the playoffs three times. Unfortunately, two of those times were in the last three years with the Kings, which is the likely rationale for his firing.
Sutter for the Colorado Avalanche
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Some people might think that bringing on a veteran coach means the team will go back to old-fashioned thinking. However, the new byword in the NHL is analytics. As NHL.com pointed out, the LA Kings have been leaders in mixing analytics and attitude into a winning combination under Darryl Sutter.
This is something the Colorado Avalanche desperately needs. They are relatively new to the analytics game. And a set of demoralized players certainly needs help getting their attitude back in shape.
Proponents of Jared Bednar will state that the 2016-17 season wasn’t his fault. They state he deserves another chance.
I’m not going to deny either of those claims. However, I ask why the Colorado Avalanche has to suffer to give Bednar another chance? Wouldn’t the team be better-served by a proven NHL coach?
Indeed, if you’re a Bednar fan, you should want the pressure taken off of him. You have to think his will be a very short leash next year because of how dismal this year was.
Therefore I propose this — woo Darryl Sutter to be the head coach with Jared Bednar as his assistant. The Colorado Avalanche can benefit from a proven coach with winning systems and the right motivating factors.
Bednar can learn, too. If you think he’s the future of the Colorado Avalanche, don’t you want it to be a bright, learned one?
However, the bottom line is this — there can be no question that Darryl Sutter is a more proven coach than Jared Bednar. Kelly Cups (ECHL) and Calder Cups (AHL) are all well and good. Sutter knows how to win the Stanley Cup as a coach because he’s done it twice.
Isn’t that someone Colorado Avalanche fans should want behind the bench during these trying times? That’s what I’d call real commitment to a proper rebuild.