The case against keeping John Hynes for Another Year
If we were to have asked about keeping Hynes behind the bench back in December, the answer would have been a resounding no, and I would have agreed. The team had been playing uninspired hockey for the better part of two months, which was completely unacceptable for the expectations they had going into October.
And when you look back at how Hynes was mismanaging the development of the young guys, most notably Eeli Tolvanen, there was little confidence that he could maximize the talent he had in front of him. Fast forward to now, and the situation has significantly changed.
One of the biggest criticisms of Hynes has been the system. Under him, the Predators’ offense has been less about skill and effective puck movement, and more around diligent forechecking and grinding down the opponent.
That certainly has its perks and being a strong forechecking team is by no means a bad thing, but when that becomes your sole identity, it is a problem. And that is what has happened on many occasions with the Predators under Hynes.
Far too often have they relied on winning ugly due to an offense that cannot get going, and their physical nature has resulted in them struggling mightily against teams that have great speed.
They have also gotten into lots of penalty trouble due to playing the body so many times, which just wears down the whole team. It has resulted in Juuse Saros having to bail them out time and time again, and we saw this year how unsustainable it is.
Such nature of play has also resulted in questionable lineup decisions, and especially at the beginning of the season.
Guys like Cole Smith, Michael McCarron, and Zach Sanford were playing over the skilled youth largely due to them being more physical, which not only stunts player development, but makes the team on the ice objectively worse and easier to figure out.
Speaking of player development, and mainly forwards, that has been a struggle for Hynes and the Predators for years. He has either flat out refused to play the youngsters, given them minimal ice time, or made them play his preferred style instead of the one that suits them individually.
Have we not seen how much better Tolvanen has played in Seattle now that he has gotten more ice time and been put in a situation that actually benefits him? That alone is a huge indictment on Hynes.
It is pretty clear how his coaching methods have held the team back, and he would be wise to evolve at least a little bit in order for him to fulfill his Stanley Cup aspirations. If he does not, there will always be questions about whether or not he can get a team over the top.