Part 6 of the Blackhawks coaching profiles has commenced. If you missed any of my previous profiles on Rick Tocchet, Claude Julien, Jim Montgomery, Brent Seabrook, and Barry Trotz, please be sure to check them out. Barry Trotz is the far and away favorite in my eyes, though it seems unlikely to happen. Jim Montgomery is my favorite option so far. But based on the popular demand of our coaches "Q of the Day" a week or so ago, today I will cover Bruce Boudreau. But I gotta tell you, I'm not the biggest fan of this one.
Boudreau has shown himself to be a very talented head coach throughout his tenure. He led multiple teams in other leagues to multiple Championships or Finals appearances. He boosted a failing Washington Capitals team in 2007 (6-14-1 when he was hired) to finish with a 37-17-7 run. He turned around an underperforming Anaheim Ducks team from fifth in their division to first in their division for four consecutive seasons. But ever since he has been with Minnesota, his coaching has been quite iffy. In his first 10 years of NHL coaching, his teams finished in first in their divisions 8 times. Of those 8 seasons, his teams advanced past the first round 4 times. Once he joined Minnesota, he never saw first place, nor the second round of the playoffs again. In fact, he has not coached in a playoff game since the 2017-18 season.
He was hired by the Vancouver Canucks for the 2021-22 season and that marriage already soured despite the Canucks finishing 32-15-10. They missed the postseason and now Boudreau's name is being floated in coaching rumors.
I'll keep this brief. I am not the highest on this hiring personally. We have seen a lot of regular season success from him, which is exciting, but that regular season success seems to be waning. Sure, an improved regular season record would seem like a world of a difference for the Chicago Blackhawks. There's no question about that. And based on that alone, I would take him. I guess what I'm trying to say is I think he's a good short term solution. He can be the guy that gets the Blackhawks back to winning again, which is all some of us are asking for. But in the grand scheme of an overhauled roster and hardcore rebuild, the next time the Blackhawks are looking to be seriously competitive is 2024-2025 most likely.
Boudreau's playoff record keeps me very hesitant, but if Kyle Davidson and gang think he can propel the Blackhawks and cut the rebuild down by a year, then it may be worth it. I just think your next Cup run will be with a different coach than Bruce Boudreau.
For the Boudreau lovers out there. I really don't hate the hire. I don't. I think he can bring value to the team in terms of getting them back to being an average to above average hockey team, even in a rebuilding season. I also think, when considering big picture aspirations, he is not the answer. So I actually really like Boudreau for a short term gig. I just don't know if that is what the Blackhawks need right now.