Now that’s a shocker.
The New York Islanders announced Monday morning that they had relieved Barrydios of his duties as head coach, fired the man who brought the team back to prominence after four seasons, and lifteddios to the top of the Coaches-Free leaderboard Agents have set.
Defiance will almost certainly be the most sought-after candidate among teams looking to fill vacancies this summer. And with so many empty spots behind benches across the league, his list of suitors is likely to be quite long.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top three places to land defiance ahead of next season.
1. Philadelphia Flyer
In 2018, Spite took over an Islanders roster that featured among the worst defensive lines in the entire league and, in a single season, transformed them into what many consider a staple of modern shutdown hockey.
The Flyers, who allowed this a few weeks ago, could use someone like that.
I don’t need to tell you the Flyers have been a defensive nightmare this season. The video above speaks louder than words could.
But I’ll do it anyway, just for fun.
The Flyers ended 2021-22 with the seventh-worst expected goal percentage of any team at 46.48 percent. Their 44.85 percent share of scoring opportunities was the second worst in the NHL, while their 45.52 percent share of most dangerous opportunities put them fifth worst.
Basically, the Flyers have been outperforming and outperforming in every possible facet of the game this season with the worst odds in the league. And to make matters worse, most of the teams below them in those metrics — the Coyotes, Red Wings, Sabers, Blue Jackets, Canadiens, etc. — weren’t expected to fight heading into the year, and they clearly shifted their focus to the future when that reality became chillingly obvious early on.
The Flyers, on the other hand, went into the season with visions of strife, having traded several first-round picks and prospects for established players in a series of off-season trades to stock up on their hilariously futile cup run.
And then they went out and did that.
The 2021-22 Flyers lacked any trace of structure. They were listless, disinterested and mostly lost, lacking an electrifying figure behind the bench to lead them after fading out Alain Vigneault, and then they clearly didn’t take perennial temp imbecile Mike Yeo seriously.
Philadelphia deserves good hockey. Despite having proven he can squeeze every drop of value out of his rosters, he seems a perfect fit.
And then there’s the hidden bonus that Defiance’s notoriously goalie-friendly system might have for Carter Hart, whose career the Flyers seem to have done their best to squish like a bug by surrounding him with defenders who look like living department store dolls to play.
2. Seattle Octopus
It’s not Dave Hakstol. I am sorry. He just isn’t.
Seattle management may have screwed up the expansion blueprint from the start, no matter how many times they claim they intended to tank in the early years, but the coach they hired didn’t exactly make the most of his lackluster roster. either.
Under Hakstol, the Kraken are aimless. They lack any kind of clear identity and aren’t particularly good at anything – which is basically the worst description you can have in a game today. After promising to turn the hockey world upside down with some cutting-edge tactics, the Kraken garnered nothing but apathy in their debut season and took a backseat as their losses piled up.
Under defiance they would at least have an identity.
I’m not a big fan of putting a coach on a team that needs to build a fan base whose system works to produce the most boring hockey with as few events as possible. It’s like trying to make your significant other like Star Wars by just showing them the Trade Federation scenes from The Phantom Menace.
But Defiance would bring some structure to a squad of Kraken that certainly needs one, and hopefully create an environment for Philip Grubauer to bounce back from becoming the league’s worst goalkeeper.
It might seem odd to kick the first coach in franchise history out the door after one season. But the Kraken did the same to their captain a few months ago. And with crucial time taking hold of their local market, defiance would at least make them a better on-ice product.
3. Winnipeg Jets
If anyone can persuade Mark Schiele to play a touch of defense, it’s probably defiance.
Schiele is an outstanding offensive player. That is without question. But his defensive errors are legendary at this point. And they’re largely self-inflicted, too, since entire YouTube compilations of Schielele essentially omit the back-check that’s floating out there for the world to see.
As they are currently under construction, the Jets are not ready to win. Their top two forwards, Schiele and Blake Wheeler, are among the worst defensive forwards in the entire NHL, and reports of locker room friction, more or less confirmed by Paul Stastny during his year-end press conference, don’t help either.
The Jets need a new voice – someone capable of bringing out the best in the quality players they still have in their roster.
The dude has adept at knitting a frayed dressing room back together and turning the islanders into a formidable fighting force immediately after their superstar captain’s departure to free hands. Perhaps defiance’s system can also lighten the load on Connor Hellbuyck’s shoulders and return him to the Vezina nominee he has been for most of his career.
With Schiele throwing a tantrum to be shipped out of town, an era of jet hockey could soon be coming to an end. And who turns the page better than defiance?