Fantasy Impact: The Carolina Hurricanes have fired their head coach Paul Maurice and have replaced him with former NHLer Kirk Muller, who was coaching the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.
Maurice's style: Like Bruce Boudreau, Maurice is a player's coach. As with most player's coaches, his impact has a positive effect on a team for about two years, but the impact fades. It almost seems like the ideal coaching cycle for a team is "Disciplinarian Coach" for two years then "Player's Coach" for two years. Both styles seem to lose the dressing room after that timeframe.
Muller's style: A former assistant coach of the Habs, Muller learned under defensive coaches. He then coached Milwaukee for 17 games and the team sits 21st in goals per game with 2.7. That's in a tight Nashville system. Not very promising in terms of long-term fantasy outlook.
The impact on key players
Eric Staal - For the short term, this will really turn things around for him. Any coaching change would have. But in the long term, I think numbers such as "85 points" is out of reach. Not under an expected defensive system.
Cam Ward - Wins big here. The team will perform better and they'll do it by limiting chances. Ward is going to flourish both short and long term.
Jeff Skinner - His upward trajectory will continue but, much like with Staal, Skinner's ceiling gets lowered just a little.
Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman - When these three get recalled (not at the same time, I mean one by one!) they should see 10 or 12 minutes instead of a ridiculous three or four. That can only help their odds of sticking in the lineup.
Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain, Tomas Kaberle - Kaberle gets new life, which will hurt McBain. Muller is leaving a team that had Ryan Ellis, so he has some experience using a top puck-mover to create offense. These three are better than they have shown.
Jiri Tlusty - A Paul Maurice favorite, he will be on a very short leash under a new coach. Produce quickly or get banished from the league, bottom line.
Jussi Jokinen - He played his best years under Maurice. I question his ability to perform that well under another coach and as a Jokinen owner (in one league) I am a little worried.
Tuomo Ruutu - Offensively speaking, he is a better player than he has shown under Maurice. A new coach or a change of scenery would have been good for him - and he has just been blessed with the former.
Chad Larose - When a player is playing over his head, as Larose is given his 48-point pace, the last thing he needs is for someone to rock the boat. A new coach changes everything.