The point being: We are far enough along in the season that if a team isn’t performing, management will be getting a little antsy.
Let’s take a look at four teams looking for answers right now....
New York Rangers
I could be wrong, but I see the course correction coming organically here. I don’t think Drury has to do anything drastic at this time. This team will turn around. I know that’s a boring take, but this is an example of a team where patience will ultimately be the best course of action. Of course, I could be wrong. But there are times when GMs feel the pressure to do something drastic and end up doing something they absolutely regret.
But the bottom line is, the Caps have not hung in there standings-wise as MacLellan had hoped. They’re far from out of it, but a .462 points percentage through 26 games is indeed a hole dug.
MacLellan has 11 pending UFAs on his roster, including the likes of Dmitry Orlov, Lars Eller and Nick Jensen. Without a turnaround, the Caps GM will be in listening mode soon, followed by selling mode. We’re not there yet, but MacLellan will know what comes next by the new year.
Here’s the thing about this team, though — and maybe I’m totally wrong here, but I honestly believe it: There’s still a chance the Senators get on a heater and salvage some semblance of a season. Not a playoff spot, of course, but the kind of hockey for the rest of the season that at least reassures they’re on the right track.
Finally, there’s head coach Bruce Boudreau. He replaced Green behind the bench a year ago and his contract expires after this season, but given the pressure on management to enact change, I don’t think it’s a question of “if” but rather “when,” in terms of a Canucks coaching change. That’s the crappy part of the business, for sure.
Where this team sits after the March 3 trade deadline and what its salary-cap situation looks like heading into the offseason will be interesting to watch.