Odds on first NHL coach to be fired: Oilers, Senators are best bets to make a change

Even though a half-dozen NHL teams replaced their head coaches entering the season, the 2017-18 campaign was the first in more than 50 years to include zero in-season changes at the position.

The year before, five different head coaches were fired during the year. A year before that, three coaches lost their jobs before the season ended. And the year before that, four others were canned on the job. In other words, in-season coaching changes are typically a normal part of the NHL cycle, even if last season that wasn't the case.

So with the 2018-19 campaign underway, it's never too early to start wondering whether any teams could be on the verge of a move. Usually teams thinking about a swap won't pull the trigger until close to December or even after the new year, but that doesn't mean there aren't already a handful of teams with an eye on the future.

In fact, Bovada just this week released odds on which head coach is most likely to be fired next.

Topping the list? The Edmonton Oilers' Todd McLellan, an unsurprising name considering the team's disappointing sixth-place Pacific Division finish a year ago. With Connor McDavid at his disposal, McLellan helped guide Edmonton to a long-awaited playoff berth in 2016-17 in his second season on the job, but a 36-40-6 follow-up apparently has him on thin ice.

Right behind McLellan is perhaps the least surprising name of the bunch -- that of the Ottawa Senators' Guy Boucher. The former Tampa Bay Lightning coach looked like an inspiring hire by the end of his first season, when the Sens rode Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson and a tight defense all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Just a year later, however, Boucher oversaw last season's disaster, a 28-43-11 collapse that's already ushered Karlsson out the door and ushered in a rebuild.

The biggest upsets on Bovada's list might be the inclusions of Bob Boughner, who may have the Florida Panthers contending for a playoff spot this year, and the Maple Leafs' Mike Babcock, who's named an obvious long shot but still seems quite secure considering the expectations for his John Tavares-fueled contender.

Here's Bovada's complete list of odds for most likely coach firings:

Todd McLellan, Oilers: 11/5
Guy Boucher, Senators: 12/5
Joel Quenneville, Blackhawks: 11/4
Jeff Blashill, Red Wings: 19/2
Randy Carlyle, Ducks: 19/2
Bob Boughner, Panthers: 20/1
Dave Hakstol, Flyers: 30/1
Mike Yeo, Blues: 30/1
Mike Babcock, Maple Leafs: 66/1

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