Posted By: Aaron Sims
As many as six teams in the AHL’s Western Conference will have new head coaches next season, including the Milwaukee Admirals.
Milwaukee GM Paul Fenton has been interviewing candidates to replace Lane Lambert, who was promoted to assistant with the Predators last week.
The Texas Stars will need to replace Glen Gulutzan after reports that he’ll be the head coach of the Dallas Stars. That will likely be announced next week. With Winnipeg back in the NHL, the former AHL Manitoba Moose are heading to St. John’s, NL. Presumably they will have a new coach as rumors persist Claude Noel is a front-runner be the head coach of the NHL team in Winnipeg. Noel, though, is under contract to Vancouver and Winnipeg will have to gain permission to speak with him. Jim Playfair has moved to an assistant coaching role with NHL Phoenix, so Abbotsford needs a head coach.
Houston head coach Mike Yeo is a candidate for the Minnesota Wild job, although it’s believed former Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish will get that gig. Also, with AHL Chicago looking for a NHL affiliate due to the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, I’m not sure what Don Lever’s fate will be.
Some names that you’ll hear for any (or all) of these jobs: Ian Herbers, Paul Jerrard, Troy Ward, Brad Berry, Todd Richards, Brad Lauer, Cory Clouston and others. Berry, Jerrard and Lauer have never been head coaches.
I am guessing Richards, Clouston and Peter DeBoer would all be candidates to be NHL assistants. Clouston and DeBoer have also enjoyed great success in Canada at the Major Junior level. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see them return to that level.
Certainly, there are Major Junior candidates out there. Former Columbus head coach Gerard Gallant just led his team to the Memorial Cup. Perhaps there are some NCAA candidates. Guys like Mike Eaves (Wisconsin) and Greg Cronin (Northeastern) have been head coaches in the AHL before taking over college programs. Penn State’s Guy Gadowsky was a head coach in the WCHL. Yale’s Keith Allain has professional coaching experience as an assistant in the NHL. Maybe they would like to get back in the pro game. Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais left North Dakota a few years back to take an assistant job in the NHL with Columbus.
There are many coaches that have had great success in the USHL. Remember, former Green Bay Gamblers coach Jon Cooper is now the head coach in Norfolk.
ECHL Trenton coach Kevin Dean has several years of AHL experience as an assistant. The Madison native just finished his first season as a head coach. Alaska’s Brent Thompson also has many years of experience as an AHL assistant. He led the Aces to the Kelly Cup earlier this month. Former IHL sniper Stan Drulia has spent eight of the last nine seasons as a head coach and just completed his first year with ECHL Wheeling.
I do not know, specifically, who Fenton has interviewed. I would think that a decision will be made in the very near future because the draft takes place June 24th. Development camp begins the 27th. I would think both management and the coach would all like to be on the same page and get a feel for the young players in the organization as early as possible.
I think Boston wins the Stanley Cup if they score first. Boston needs to put doubt not in Roberto Luongo, but his teammates.
By the way, we’ve focused a lot on a former Milwaukee Admirals player (Rich Peverley or Dan Hamhuis) getting his name on the Stanley Cup. It is worth noting, once again, that Bruins head coach Claude Julien played five games for the Admirals in the 1983-84 season.