The Seattle NHL team may move to hire its first head coach soon, and here are four candidates for the job.
The yet-unnamed Seattle NHL team won’t begin play until the 2021-22 season, but work is being done to shape things behind the scenes, led by general manager Ron Francis. According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, during an appearance on TSN’s “Insider Trading” Thursday, the franchise’s first head coach could be hired as soon as this offseason.
“When (general manager) Ron Francis was thinking about his first head coach, he thought he would hire him between January and June of ’21,” LeBrun said. “Well now, he has cleared it with ownership that he can go out and hire a coach as early as this summer.”
Ground has been broken on the team’s practice facility, and the arena is under construction. Hiring a coach this offseason would allow said person to help establish the initial on-ice template, with presumably some input into who will be taken in the 2021 Expansion Draft when that time comes. Those who have been behind a bench this season, with knowledge of the current league, are sure to be atop the list for Francis.
Here are four candidates to be the first head coach of the Seattle NHL team.
4. Bruce Boudreau
Boudreau became a rarity as he survived into a third general manager in Minnesota, but in the last year of his contract he was almost certain to not be back behind the Wild bench next season. Only the timing of his firing on Feb. 14 was odd, as the Wild were in the midst of a good run and had edged close to playoff spot.
Boudreau immediately said he wants another coaching job, however obviously. But his options at 65-years-old are hard to exactly tab, as coaching hires have generally tilted younger in the league.
The black marks on Boudreau’s coaching resume is no Stanley Cup and a below .500 playoff record (43-47). But 567 regular season wins and eight division titles over 14 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota stand out, as does what he was able to coax out of a Wild team that wasn’t expected to be very good this year.
Boudreau is not necessarily a hire that would stir up buzz with the budding NHL fan base in the Pacific Northwest. But from a pure coaching credibility, hockey X’s and O’s standpoint, Francis should easily give Boudreau an interview for the job in Seattle.