Coaching Analysis Part 2: Metropolitan Division

Note: This is Part 2 of the series on coaching analysis. Part 1 is here.

In this post, I’ll do a brief review of each team’s coach history from the current Metropolitan Division. These graphs only show a team’s performance in 5v5 situations from 2005 to 2016. The vertical lines indicate when a season begins. The horizontal line shows the 50% mark, where a team would be if it had as many shots for as shots against. The bold line is a smoothed representation of the team’s shot percentage. The faded bands around the bold line indicate 95% confidence intervals. These intervals show the uncertainty around the smoothed estimation of the data.

Carolina had some good years under Laviolette, but have not had any sustained periods of success. Bill Peters impressed in his first season as coach, but the trades at the end of the 2014-15 season arrested the team’s progress.

Carolina Hurricanes coach graph.png

Columbus has been very up and down over the past 10 years. Ken Hitchcock had some successful years during Rick Nash’s prime. The team had an impressive season under Todd Richards in 2013-14, but fell off rapidly in 2014-15 due to injury. John Tortorella did not appear to have materially improved the team in his first year.

Columbus Blue Jackets coach graph.png

The Devils traditionally had a strong showing in shot metrics, despite the lack of consistency on the bench. This may be attributed to GM Lou Lamoriello’s philosophy and personnel decisions. The team improved drastically with the addition of Pete Deboer in 2011-12. Deboer enjoyed success until the team’s play rapidly fell off in 2014-15, when he was replaced by Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. The team’s play continued to decline under John Hynes in 2015-16.

New Jersey Devils coach graph.png

The Islanders were even at best early on, and struggled under Scott Gordon. The team improved slowly under Jack Capuano, and had great success in 2014-15 with the addition of Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. However, the next season saw the team’s play fall rapidly. A change in system and a less effective Johnny Boychuk could explain this drop.

New York Islanders coach graph.png

The Rangers experienced early success with Tom Renney behind the bench. The team’s play steadily decreased under John Tortorella, but rallied in his last season. Alain Vigneault’s first two seasons were a success, but in 2015-16 the team’s play was decidedly worse.

New York Rangers coach graph.png

After moving on from Ken Hitchcock, the Flyer’s play suffered greatly under John Stevens. The team experienced ups and downs under Laviolette, with some higher peaks. The Flyers were up, down, and worse under Craig Berube. During the team’s first season under Dave Hakstol, the team’s play improved greatly.

Philadelphia Flyers coach graph.png

Eddie Olczyk was limited to 31 games behind the bench in 2005-06. Miraculously, the team improved under Michel Therrien, though the Penguins eventually hit a ceiling. The team drastically improved under Dan Bylsma, peaking at around 55% shots for. However, replacing Jordan Staal with Brandon Sutter in 2012-13 proved disastrous. After similarly poor personnel and coaching decisions, Bylsma was fired after the 2013-14 season. Mike Johnston replaced Bylsma. Under Johnston, the Penguins began winning the shots battle. However, a drastic systems change over the summer led Johnston to be replaced by Mike Sullivan in 2015-16. Sullivan’s more offense-oriented system immediately took the Penguins to new heights.

Pittsburgh Penguins coach graph.png

The Washington Capitals were bad under coach Glen Hanlon, though they slightly improved later in his tenure. Hanlon was relieved after starting the 2007-08 season 6-14-1. The team’s play skyrocketed under new coach Bruce Boudreau, and the team ran rampant over the league for the next 3 seasons. The team’s play dropped in the 2010-11 season, and after losing 6 of 8 games early in the 2011-12 season, Boudreau was replaced by Dale Hunter. Hunter’s lone season as the Capitals’ head coach was poor, and he actually quit during the offseason. Adam Oates replaced Hunter in 2012-13 and was consistently over-matched. The 2013-14 season saw the team’s play worsen still. Barry Trotz, long-time coach of the Nashville Predators, took over in 2014-15 and immediately improved the team’s play. In Trotz’s two seasons, the team consistently dominated in terms of shots.

Washington Capitals coach graph.png

In Part 3, I will do an overview of the coaching history of teams from the current Central Division.

The R code for the data analysis and the charts are on my GitHub page. The data behind these charts is here. Ask me on twitter if you have any questions about the data. As mentioned, this data was pulled from War On Ice.

Note: careful observers will see small gaps in some of the graphs. This is a data quality issue I hope to solve soon. It should not materially affect the analysis.


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