NHL head coaches have a short shelf life. Sometimes when the message becomes stale, it's time for a fresh voice with new ideas and motivation tactics. It doesn't necessarily mean the coach isn't good at his craft. Sometimes it's just time for a change.

The Ottawa Senators have reached this point with D.J. Smith.

Smith, hired by the Sens in May 2019, is the league's seventh-longest-tenured head coach. Between the six coaches ahead of him, four (Jon Cooper, Mike Sullivan, Jared Bednar, Craig Berube) have won Stanley Cups, one (Rod Brind'Amour) won the Jack Adams Award, and the other (Todd McLellan) has a long track record of success and led the upstart Los Angeles Kings to the playoffs last season.

Smith has accomplished none of this.

Ottawa never even sniffed the playoffs in Smith's first three years on the job, finishing second-last in its division each season. But that's understandable – they were rebuilding.

Expectations changed this past summer, though. The offseason additions of household names like Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and Cam Talbot were supposed to be the missing ingredients to help the Senators' budding young core make the leap. At the very least, the hope was for the team to stay in the race and play meaningful hockey down the stretch.

The expectations placed Smith firmly on the hot seat in our preseason pressure cooker preview.

But things have gone worse than even the most pessimistic critic could've imagined. The 6-12-1 Senators entered Friday with the NHL's second-worst points percentage (.342). On Ottawa's current pace, it's projected to be the worst season in franchise history since 1995-96 – when the club was still in its infancy stages.