Joel Quenneville will coach again in the NHL. That’s pretty much a given.
The question is where the second-winningest coach in the league will end up.
There are always possibilities, some more notional and “out there” than others. The one hitch, such as it is, is that Quenneville has a year to go on a contract that pays out $6 million. That means any team wanting his services will have to plonk down the green. But his services being what they are, money probably ain’t a thing.
Perhaps the rational choice for a Quenneville destination has to be the St. Louis Blues. We already know Mike Yeo is in trouble and that the fuse is short. The Blues have been hoping to lay it down in their division all year, but things haven’t panned out notwithstanding some off-season trawling. St. Louis might want to give Yeo more of a chance than they have to turn the boat around.
But the Blues are 6-5-3 right now after defeating the Sharks, which puts them two points behind the Colorado Avalanche.
Quenneville has already spent substantial time with the Blues, so the fit could be nice and easy. And who wouldn’t love a chance to stick it to the Hawks and their wide-eyed new guy.
The Anaheim Ducks, like their Californian rival Kings, are looking to become faster and, well, better. They’re only winning on the strength of John Gibson and they’ve got Randy Carlyle in the final year of his contract, so the fit for Quenneville could be a good one. And there is precedent for general manager Bob Murray to throw Carlyle out of the house, by the way. He did it in 2011-2012.
The Ducks are an injury hotspot right now, however, and that may cause Murray to have a little more patience with Carlyle this time around. But then again, he fired his coach in the aforementioned season after a 7-13-4 start and brought in Bruce Boudreau. This year’s Ducks are 7-8-3.
A third possibility is the Detroit Red Wings, who are probably not the first name to spring to mind here. But they are a team in the midst of revitalization and could think of Quenneville as a channel to repeating in the Motor City what happened in Chicago. Here’s another Original Six team on the outs after years of contendership. Here’s another Original Six team in need of a restart.
What better way to accomplish that than to utilize Quenneville’s knack for turning young players into stars? Granted, Dan Bylsma is holding it down on the bench as an assistant and conventional wisdom suggests he’ll be the heir apparent if the Red Wings decide to make a coaching change.
There are, of course, more possibilities. But it seems all but certain that Quenneville will wind up somewhere before the season is out, so it’s not likely he’ll just sit around and collect Windy City money – unless Seattle intends on making the pitch of a lifetime for their inaugural bench boss.