Fans of the Winnipeg Jets were shocked last week by the announcement that Paul Maurice was stepping down as head coach. Among the longest serving coaches in the league, Maurice made the decision after a particularly difficult run for the team, which enters the NHL’s Christmas break outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference. The Jets wasted no time naming assistant coach as the team’s interim bench boss. But while Lowry is pegged as a strong -200 favorite on the NHL specials at Bovada to eventually lose the interim tag and take over the reins on a full-time basis, there is no shortage of potential candidates available to fill Maurice’s shoes should the Jets eventually decide to go in another direction.
MyTopSportsbooks takes a look at all the best bets as the Winnipeg Jets ramp up their search for a new head coach. Sports bettors getting in on hockey action for the first time should refer to our online resources, including our Stanley Cup betting guide, and tips on how to take advantage of the best NHL hockey betting sites.
Maurice’s Departure Unexpected
Among the longest serving and most respected head coaches in the NHL, Paul Maurice first arrived in Winnipeg back in 2014, and oversaw the club’s steady climb to respectability. Under Maurice, the Jets reached the playoffs on five occasions, driving as deep as the Western Conference Finals back in 2018.
Paul Maurice speaks after resigning as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets. pic.twitter.com/vAqdLnYx8v
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 17, 2021
However, the Jets have struggled to generate steady results this season. Things came to a head for Maurice after the team posted just five wins over a 13-game period starting in mid-November. Maurice came to the conclusion that there was nothing more he could offer to the club, and that the best way for the Jets to move forward and salvage the season was with new leadership behind the bench.
“I thought our guys played an outstanding game tonight. Competed. Did everything we wanted to do.”
Dave Lowry on earning his first win as interim head coach, stepping up in a crucial game against a division rival, and more.
WATCH 🔽 pic.twitter.com/gAiO70QrlD
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) December 20, 2021
Lowry quickly emerged as the logical choice to take over coaching duties, at least for the rest of the season. The former NHL journeyman forward is still relatively new to the Jets organization, having arrived in Winnipeg a year ago after enjoying several years coaching in the CHL ranks. But Lowry can expect to feel immediate pressure to win in his new role at the helm of a club that has tumbled to a distant +2500 bet on the NHL Western Conference Odds after opening the campaign as a respectable +1600 bet.
Homecoming for Carlyle?
The Jets have plenty of coaching candidates with NHL experience to choose from should they elect to go in a different direction. Topping the list of former NHL coaches currently searching for work is Randy Carlyle, who sits second to Lowry on the betting odds at +650.
A Jets memory in this 25th season of NHL in Winnipeg. 03/09/1988 Randy Carlyle sets Jets record for points by defenseman with 5 v the Calgary Flames. Carlyle’s 1G/4A all came on the power play which might explain why he was a -4 in the 6-6 OT tie pic.twitter.com/l2G7Wx3UfE
— Joe Pascucci (@Pascucci015) February 2, 2019
A star defenceman with the original Winnipeg Jets for several seasons during an impressive NHL playing career, Carlyle also won the Stanley Cup as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 65-year-old also has deep connections to the city, which he has called home for many years.
Quinn, Bylsma Searching for New Jobs
Among the other former NHL coaches who may be interested in the job are David Quinn, Dan Bylsma, and Claude Julien, all of whom sport +1400 odds. Quinn played a key role in the New York Rangers’ recent rebuild before being inexplicably fired at the end of last season.
— Uncontested Sports (@uncontestedpod) May 12, 2021
Bylsma also won the Stanley Cup as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2009, and has been unemployed since being mercifully fired by the Buffalo Sabres in 2017. Julien also raised Lord Stanley’s mug as Boston Bruins bench boss in 2011, and clearly understands the pressure of coaching in a Canadian market after serving two tours of duty with the Montreal Canadiens.
Pascal Vincent the Logical Choice
But if the Jets decide that Lowry is not the man, the best candidate for the job is likely to be Pascal Vincent, who joins Carlyle as an attractive +650 bet. A native of Laval, Quebec, Vincent cut his teeth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he served as head coach of both the Montreal Junior and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles before landing a position as assistant coach of the Jets in 2011.
Pascal Vincent hasn’t been behind the Eagles bench for 11 years, but that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t think about his time in Cape Breton. The Manitoba Moose head coach often thinks of his nine seasons with the QMJHL team. https://t.co/zTR73Lnxf0 pic.twitter.com/iUnJLcbOVn
— SaltWire Network (@SaltWireNetwork) December 21, 2019
Vincent was subsequently promoted to head coach of the Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, where he oversaw the development of many of the young players now in Winnipeg lineup. And after leading the Moose to a second-place finish last season, he returned to the NHL as assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Moose Graduate Head Coach Pascal Vincent to Blue Jackets
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) June 25, 2021
Considering Lowry’s relative inexperience as a head coach at the professional level, and the pressure he faces to win now, he offers little betting value, particularly if the Jets fail to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, down in Columbus, Brad Larsen is enjoying some success in his first season as Blue Jackets bench boss. That means Vincent is likely to be willing and available to return to Winnipeg should the Jets come knocking at the end of this season.
Best Bet: Pascal Vincent (+650)