Who are the best available candidates to coach an NHL team next season?
There are coaching vacancies in Vancouver, Dallas and Colorado with more likely on the horizon.
By: Bob Mitchell Sports Reporter
With the firing of Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and Thursday’s hiring of Patrick Roy in Colorado, there are two NHL coaching vacancies at the moment. Here are some potential candidates for those jobs:
He coached the Buffalo Sabres for 14 seasons before getting fired when the team started the lockout season with a 6-10-1 record. He made the playoffs eight times, twice getting to the Eastern Conference final and once into the Stanley Cup although he’s missed the playoffs three of the last five seasons. He was behind the bench for Canada at this month’s world championships. The Canadians lost to the Swedes in a shootout in the quarter-finals. Hard to argue against his coaching experience. Despite his recent lack of success, he’s got 571 wins.
Not much as been said about Ron Wilson since his firing from the Maple Leafs two seasons ago but the word among NHL circles is that he will coach again if the right job is offered. It didn’t work in Toronto but he had terrific success with the Washington Capitals and the San Jose Sharks in previous coaching stints and he also guided Team U.S.A to a silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Had Randy Carlyle not been able to turn the Maple Leafs around, there would have been a good chance that Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins would be running the team next season. He still could some day but he’s got an out in his contract to take an NHL job if one is offered before next season rolls around. The Marlies had back-to-back 40 win seasons and won two straight North Division titles the past two season and his players respect and love him. He’s a great motivator and teacher of young talent and a strong believer in conditioning and spends his summers in B.C.
He’s not well known among most NHL fans but his work as Claude Julien’s assistant with the Boston Bruins hasn’t gone unnoticed by league general managers. His star is rising but if he’s on any team’s radar, they’ll have to wait while Boston makes another Stanley Cup run. He’s helped deliver six consecutive playoff appearances and a Stanley Cup victory over the Canucks. Sure it helps having Zdeno Chara on the blue line but Houda’s hand has been all over the Bruins defensive game plans.
Sure, some would say this would be another re-tread but Jacques Martin has had success wherever he’s been. Like Ruff, Martin would bring a wealth of experience to a team with high expectations. In Ottawa, the defensive-oriented coach had four consecutive 100 point seasons and never missed the playoffs.
Other potential candidates
Brent Sutter, Mike Kitchen, Guy Boucher, Paul Maurice, Andy Murray, Larry Robinson, Scott Arniel, Tom Renney.