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Grouping the Eastern Conference coaching staffs into tiers

Dan Bylsma goes from coaching Sidney Crosby to helping Jack Eichel adjust to the NHL. AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

The single factor that may have the greatest impact on a team's fortunes is also usually the area that's subjected to the least scrutiny as we examine clubs in the preseason -- the coaching staff. While the players themselves are the ones deciding the games, the coaching staff are the ones deciding who goes out there, with whom and against whom, in what manpower and game situations, and playing what systems. Looking ahead at the 2015-16 season, it makes sense to evaluate which coaches have had the most experience and success with making those kinds of decisions.

Obviously opinions are diverse when it comes to which coaches and staffs have had the most success. That's where the numbers can come in -- not as a definitive voice, but as another perspective.