5 Leading Candidates for Senators Next Head Coach

The Ottawa Senators have installed 71-year-old Jacques Martin behind the bench on an interim basis after firing DJ Smith earlier this week. But the search for a permanent replacement to take this team into the future is on in full force. 

NHL Insider Frank Seravalli has proposed five leading candidates who could take the reigns behind the bench in Ottawa once their search is complete.

John Gruden

This speculation emerged earlier this week, as Gruden is off to a great start in his first season behind the bench with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. The 53-year-old was an assistant coach with the NY Islanders and Boston Bruins the previous five seasons. 

Jay Woodcroft

It's only been five weeks since Woodcroft was relieved of his duties from the then-struggling Edmonton Oilers. But he still holds a terrific 79-41-13 record (.643) in his time behind an NHL bench. 

Dean Evason

Similar to Woodcroft, he has a tremendous NHL coaching mark (.661 winning pct.), and was only fired last month by the Minnesota Wild due to the team's slow start.

Claude Julien

He's only eight years younger than Martin, at 63, but he is an Ottawa-bred hometown guy, and has a Stanley Cup on his resume (Boston, 2011) and over 1,200 NHL games coached.

Chris Kelly

A former fan favorite in Ottawa as a player, he's still looking for his first NHL head coaching gig, but he's been an assistant with the Boston Bruins for the past three seasons. 

Whatever the Senators do, however, don't expect a quick decision. “We want to make sure it’s the right fit for our group and the right structure for our group moving forward,” president of hockey operations and interim GM Steve Staios said. “These things do take time. The last thing we wanted to do was make any rash decisions."

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