Fantasy Impact: The Columbus Blue Jackets have fired their head coach Scott Arniel. Todd Richards will take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Arniel’s style: He coached a team that had a the sixth-worst offense in the league last season with a pretty weak offensive cast. This year the team has the third fewest goals for, but a much better cast offensively. More can be done with this team, even considering the injuries.
Richards’ style: The former coach of the Wild was even worse at getting the players to put the puck in the net, coaching Minnesota to the fifth-worst goals-for last season. He’s similar to Arniel in terms of coaching style, but is probably better at holding players accountable.
The impact on key players
A clean slate is always a good thing, right Derick Brassard?
Richards has his work cut out for him, with some of his top offensive players on the shelf for an extended period of time. Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski, Marc Letestu and Kristian Huselius are all out for the month of January.
As is usually the case when there is a coaching change, there should be an immediate production burst that will fade away after a couple of weeks. But it could be enough to get the likes of Rick Nash, Antoine Vermette and RJ Umberger going. I also think Brassard will build on his recent success and that Ryan Johansen will be leaned on a lot more. If either of the above two reward Richards for his faith in them, then he/they will be in for a strong second half.
Goaltending – wish I could provide hope here. Mark Dekanich is in the AHL and ready to return and Richards will have no problem making him the starting goalie. If that happens, I have a hunch that the W’s will start to finally roll. But Dekanich has had a terrible time staying healthy, so a lot will depend on that.