Every NHL team will be behind when the league is operating again, but only four will be breaking in a new head coach. Their task of reestablishing a team identity will be a little bit tougher.
Adam Oates, Capitals
• Tweak an offense that finished an inexplicable 10th in the East in scoring.
• Get the most out of the best, Alex Ovechkin (career-low 65 points last season).
• Shed label of underachievers: Caps haven’t gone past East semis since 1998.
Bob Hartley, Flames
• End three-year playoff drought playing in tough Northwest Division.
• Nurture young talent: Flames’ top 10 scorers last season were 28 or older.
• Maintain momentum created by departed coach Brent Sutter.
Ralph Krueger, Oilers
• Prove himself on an NHL bench; Krueger, 53, is a former European standout.
• Pull together one of the league’s most talented and youngest cores.
• Give goalie Devan Dubnyk, 26, more time while keeping him on an upward trend.
Michel Therrien, Canadiens
• Win back a fan base that turned on the team during an ugly 2011-12 season.
• Show that he’s not the same coach who won 77 and lost 77 with Habs from 2000-03.
• Make the power play (ranked 28th last season) equal to the penalty kill (2d).