As projected, an experienced and accomplished new coaching staff helped the Minnesota Wild vault up the standings from 87 points in 2015-16 to a franchise record 106 points in 2016-17. And, so far in 2017-18, the Vegas Golden Knights are demonstrating the wisdom of filling coaching vacancies with proven names.
Using a methodology introduced for the 2009-10 season, and explained in more detail in our 2015-16 edition, it is possible to objectively measure the experience and past success of each team's coaching staff at a high level.
How do things shape up for the 2017-18 season in the Western Conference? We'll examine those 15 teams here and place each staff into a specific tier:
Tier 1: Accomplished
Tier 2: Experienced
Tier 3: Balanced
Tier 4: Inexperienced or underachieving