Even though the dust has finally started to settle in Montreal, questions still remain. What will the Canadiens do now for a center man? How will Claude Julien change the performance of the team? Another question still left unanswered, and certainly the most important one for legions of Michel Therrien loyalists is, what will Therrien do next?
The rap on Therrien is his inability to get along with stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and P.K. Subban. That said, Therrien has shown that he excels at taking teams of middling results and turning them into elite teams. He did this in the AHL in Wilkes-Barre, in Pittsburgh, and during his first two seasons in his most recent tenure in Montreal. Although he is not the elite coach that will be behind the bench for a championship team, he is essentially the “bridge deal” of coaches. His iron fist rule is perfect for uniting a team of young stars against one common enemy: him. When this act wears thin and there is a definite shelf life for his rhetoric, the team standing in his wake will be better for it.
The NHL is better with personalities, and Therrien has one of the biggest. That said, which teams would potentially benefit from a foul tempered authoritarian French coach with a great set of suits and an extremely short fuse?
Colorado is currently at the bottom of the league. Their losing season this year is legendarily bad. Everyone seems to think that trading Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog will be the first step into breathing some life into this moribund franchise. However, there are talented players on the roster. There is no reason to think they should be this bad, and play games night in and night out without pride for the logo on their sweater. Something is rotten in the room and a coach like Therrien would be ideally suited for getting everyone on the same page.
New York Islanders
Doug Weight is doing an adequate job as an interim coach for the recently disposed Jack Capuano, yet is he really the solution long term? John Tavares will have to make a decision next season about his long term future with the organization. What better way to show Tavares that the Islanders are serious about their mutual success than by hiring a proven legitimate coach like Michel Therrien? Simply put, Therrien gets results. He gets his teams in the playoffs consistently, which is something that the Islanders have been unable to do.
The most likely option is also the least interesting option. In the summer of 2014 Therrien signed a four-year contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens after leading the team to record of 75-42-13 from 2012-2014. He will still be entitled to be paid throughout the 2017-2018 season. The best move for Therrien at this point might be to bide his time and enjoy some time off planning for a return to the league in 2019.