There have been five coaching changes in the NHL this season -- Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens -- and we now have large enough sample sizes before and after to determine which players have benefited most from the moves from a daily fantasy perspective.
Below are the players from each of the five teams who have seen the biggest spikes in DraftKings points per game (FPPG) after their respective coaching changes. Players who have a positive differential of at least 0.4 FPPG and are averaging at least 2.0 per game (4.0 for goalies) since the coaching changes have been included. FPPG figures as of Thursday, March 23 have been provided by DraftKings.
FLORIDA PANTHERS (Tom Rowe replaced Gerard Gallant):
Before: Oct. 13 to Nov. 27
After: Nov. 28 to March 23
Aleksander Barkov (2.52 to 4.07: +1.55)
James Reimer (3.38 to 4.39: +1.01)
Vincent Trocheck (2.95 to 3.73: +0.78)
Jussi Jokinen (1.75 to 2.25: +0.50)
Reilly Smith (2.02 to 2.49: +0.47)
Alex Petrovic (1.63 to 2.04: +0.42)
The Panthers have fallen out of Stanley Cup Playoff contention, but their forward group has seen a positive trickle-down effect since Jonathan Huberdeau (17 points in 22 games) and Barkov (48 points in 58 games) each returned from an injury on Feb. 3. Barkov, Trocheck, Jokinen, Smith and Jaromir Jagr (+0.09) have seen positive FPPG differentials since Rowe took over, with Barkov proving he's an elite DFS option when healthy in Florida's new system. The Panthers have been outscored 66-62 since Barkov and Huberdeau returned, a huge improvement after being outscored 80-64 in Rowe's first 29 games as coach. Aaron Ekblad (+0.24) has seen a slight boost because of his power-play usage and elite shot volume (225 shots on goal, 18th in NHL), but Keith Yandle (-0.33) and early-season standout Jonathan Marchessault (-0.58) have regressed in terms of FPPG over the large sample size since the change. Reimer has seen a huge boost in production with a heavier start volume in the absence of Roberto Luongo, who had a fall from fantasy grace (-1.24) prior to injury.
Video: FLA@TBL: Jagr nets a sharp-angle goal
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano):
Before: Oct. 13 to Jan. 16
After: Jan. 17 to March 23
Andrew Ladd (1.99 to 3.07: +1.09)
John Tavares (3.55 to 4.55: +1.00)
Anders Lee (2.62 to 3.47: +0.85)
It has been a positive turn of events for the Islanders, who are back in the postseason mix under Weight with nine of their players gaining DraftKings value. Their leading goal scorers, Tavares and Lee (27 each; career high for Lee), have each seen sizable boosts in FPPG. Ladd, a major fantasy disappointment under Capuano, has scored 12 goals in 27 games under Weight. Third-line center Jason Chimera has benefited from the change (+0.32), scoring nine goals in 30 games under Weight. Ryan Strome (wrist) also had a positive FPPG differential (+0.17) prior to injury. Thomas Greiss's FPPG average declined from 4.99 to 4.25 (-0.74) because of the heavier start volume and a few lopsided losses, and the Islanders have recalled Jaroslav Halak for support. Joshua Ho-Sang (2.3 FPPG) has benefited from Weight's system as well, but Weight took over prior to the rookie being recalled March 1.
Video: NYI@NYR: Ladd finishes Lee's feed in front for PPG
ST. LOUIS BLUES (Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock):
Before: Oct. 12 to Jan. 31
After: Feb. 1 to March 23
Carter Hutton (2.82 to 7.32: +4.50)
Jake Allen (3.28 to 6.28: +3.00)
Patrik Berglund (2.07 to 3.05: +0.98)
Jay Bouwmeester (1.51 to 2.14: +0.63)
Magnus Paajarvi (1.67 to 2.26: +0.60)
The Blues goaltenders have had a night-and-day turnaround under Yeo with the help from goalie coaches Martin Brodeur and Ty Conklin. The tandem of Allen and Hutton struggled mightily in the final weeks of Hitchcock's tenure, but have been exceptional ever since; Allen is 12-6-0 with a .944 save percentage and three shutouts, and Hutton is 4-1-0 with a .962 SV% and two shutouts. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (+0.22) has benefited from the coaching change and the Kevin Shattenkirk trade, which has given him greater power-play usage and a spike in fantasy production. Center Patrik Berglund has scored 10 goals on 50 SOG since the coaching change, helping him pay dividends as a daily fantasy sleeper. The Blues have a favorable schedule down the stretch and have swiftly gone from a fringe playoff contender to a virtual lock; they are 16-7-0 and outscoring opponents 64-39 under Yeo.
BOSTON BRUINS (Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien):
Before: Oct. 13 to Feb. 4
After: Feb. 5 to March 23
Anton Khudobin (1.75 to 4.76: +3.01)
Patrice Bergeron (3.60 to 4.67: +1.07)
Brad Marchand (4.22 to 5.17: +0.95)
Torey Krug (3.13 to 3.59: +0.46)
David Pastrnak (4.30 to 4.70: +0.40)
The Bruins, clinging to the second wild card from the Eastern Conference, have seen their top four offensive players and backup goalie benefit most from the coaching change. Pastrnak being moved to a line with David Krejci (+0.15), has given the Bruins offense greater balance. With added exposure to the Marchand-Bergeron and Krejci-Pastrnak lines, defensemen Krug and Zdeno Chara (+0.32) have benefited by association. Bergeron's high shot volume and second-half bounce-back have helped Brad Marchand rise to among the League leaders in FPPG (5.17 since change), goals (37, T-2nd) and points (80, 4th). The Bruins' shooting percentage has drastically improved under Cassidy, going from among the worst in the League (7.3, T-28th) to the best (11.5, 1st). Khudobin is 4-0-0 with a .916 save percentage under Cassidy.
Video: TBL@BOS: Pastrnak opens the scoring with PPG
MONTREAL CANADIENS (Julien replaced Michel Therrien):
Before: Oct. 13 to Feb. 12
After: Feb. 13 to March 23
Carey Price (4.80 to 6.10: +1.30)
Andrew Shaw (2.22 to 2.67: +0.45)
The Canadiens offense has not benefited nearly as much from their coaching change as the Bruins offense. Boston has 12 players with positive FPPG differentials compared to Montreal's five. Price has reaffirmed his elite fantasy status in a more defensive structure by going 9-4-0 with a .938 SV% and one shutout since Julien replaced Therrien. That said, the Canadiens have had negative FPPG differentials from top forwards Max Pacioretty (-0.06), Alexander Radulov (-0.49) and Alex Galchenyuk (-0.16). Their top differentials among forwards are Shaw and Paul Byron (+0.29). They are 10-5-1 in 16 games under Julien but have been outscored 36-34.