Gerard Gallant‘s firing presents the New York Islanders with a tremendous opportunity.
While other coaches are getting canned for slow starts, Capuano remains at the helm of the organization. He’s been behind the bench since 2010-11, despite his team only making the postseason three times during that span.
By comparison, Gerard Gallant, last season’s Jack Adams Award runner-up, was axed by the Florida Panthers after his team got off to an underwhelming (11-10-1) start. Capuano’s Isles have the league’s worst record (4-10-6), but the consensus is that ‘Cappy’ will remain in his current role.
This would be a dire mistake.
The go-to explanation for retaining Capuano has always been a lack of a viable replacement. But Gallant is a proven head coach — he led the Rink Rats to their best ever record in 2015-16 — who would immediately assert himself as a strict disciplinarian.
There’s a significant problem with pursuing Gallant, though. He reportedly voiced his displeasure with the Cats’ ‘Moneyball’ approach, something that Ilya Khrennikov of Bloomberg claims the Isles utilize as well.
However, if Gallant is willing to come to Brooklyn, the Isles should definitely open up the checkbook. The reasons are twofold:
First, opportunities like this don’t present themselves very often. Gallant has a proven track record and is available right when the Isles need him. It’s imperative that they don’t fail to make the call like they’ve done so many times in the past.
The second reason is a reassuring one. Jon Bois of SB Nation conducted a study about mid-season firings. From 2000-11, NHL teams’ cumulative winning percentages rose from .462 to .507 following mid-season firings.
Of the fifty-two teams Bois counted, fifteen reached the playoffs. That’s more than the MLB (four teams) and the NFL (zero) combined.
The Isles have a bevy of underachieving talent on their roster. Looking forward to the future, it’s essential that they mold some of these players (Ryan Strome, Calvin de Haan, Anders Lee) into legitimate playmakers.
Otherwise, the rebuild will continue even longer.