Home / Hockey / Stars coach Ken Hitchcock retires — so who’s next behind the Dallas bench?

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock retires — so who’s next behind the Dallas bench?


The Stars introduced coach Ken Hitchcock is retiring from teaching obligation after 1,500 recreation and 823 wins unfold throughout 22 seasons in the NHL. Now, Dallas has to start the seek for a brand new bench boss for the second straight summer season.

He’s the third-winningest coach in NHL historical past, has stood behind the bench for greater than 1,500 video games and his trophy case features a Stanley Cup, two Western Conference championships, two Presidents’ Trophies, a Jack Adams Award, in addition to World Junior Championship, World Cup and Olympic gold. But after 22 seasons behind an NHL bench, Ken Hitchcock’s teaching profession has come to an in depth.

The Dallas Stars introduced Friday that Hitchcock, who stepped behind the bench for a second tenure with the workforce forward of the 2017-18 marketing campaign, has determined to step away from the place and can transfer right into a consulting position with the group.

“Ken Hitchcock is an icon when it comes to head coaches, not only in hockey, but across all of sports,” mentioned Stars GM Jim Nill in an announcement. “He poured his whole life into better understanding in-game concepts and strategy, inspiring players and enhancing teams. He leaves an indelible mark on the game and his influence will be felt across the sport for years to come. We want to thank Ken for all that he has given throughout his coaching career.”

Oddly sufficient, that is the second time Hitchcock has introduced his retirement. Prior to the 2016-17 season, Hitchcock, then with the St. Louis Blues and with affiliate coach Mike Yeo able to step into the prime job at a second’s discover, mentioned he was getting into his remaining season behind the bench and it was extensively reported that he would finish his teaching tenure at the end result of final season. The marketing campaign began to go off the rails for the Blues, nonetheless, leading to Hitchcock’s firing halfway by the season. For a while, it appeared Hitchcock was certainly by with teaching, however after the Stars moved on from former coach Lindy Ruff, Hitchcock was lured again to Dallas, the place he had beforehand coached from 1995-96 to 2001-02. 

It was reported at the time that Hitchcock inked a multi-year contract with an settlement to maneuver right into a consulting place after he retired from patrolling the bench. But with Friday’s retirement — and this one’s virtually sure to be everlasting — Hitchcock’s transfer into the consulting position comes sooner than was anticipated. Of course, the shift into the entrance workplace place does come on the heels of a disappointing marketing campaign for the Stars wherein Dallas, picked by many to be a Stanley Cup contender throughout the pre-season, fell wanting the playoffs for a second consecutive 12 months. That might very nicely have performed an element in Hitchcock’s choice.

There is little doubt that sooner or later in the not-too-distant future Hitchcock and his 823 profession wins will enter the Hall of Fame in the builders’ class, becoming a member of different famed coaches akin to Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Pat Quinn and Pat Burns. His outstanding resume speaks for itself and is deserving of a spot amongst the biggest coaches the recreation has ever seen.

As for the Stars, Hitchcock’s retirement creates a training emptiness that may have to be addressed throughout what is bound to be one other busy summer season. So, who steps in behind the bench next season? Here are 10 potential candidates:

Alain Vigneault
Current: N/A
Past NHL Experience: Head coach for New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens

Recently relieved of his duties in New York, Vigneault has a stable monitor document in the NHL. He’s a profession 648-435-133 and has two convention titles underneath his belt. The professional right here is that he has a ton of expertise from which to attract, however Dallas has gone with an skilled NHL coach earlier than solely to have it backfire. It could be time for a contemporary voice.

Willie Desjardins
Current: N/A
Past NHL Experience: Head coach for Vancouver Canucks; assistant coach for Dallas Stars

The Stars made it clear that they gained’t hesitate to return to the nicely once they introduced again Hitchcock, so hiring Desjardins, a former assistant and former AHL bench boss, isn’t out of the query. His NHL head-coaching debut wasn’t glowing with the rebuilding Canucks, however he did a stable job with the Canadian Olympic entry in PyeongChang. He’ll probably get one other shot at the bigs, and it could be the Stars who give it to him.

Dave Tippett
Current: N/A
Past NHL Experience: Head coach for Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars; assistant coach for Los Angeles Kings

An total season out of the job may take away Tippett from the entrance of the line, however he has the expertise and monitor document that would make him a candidate. Like Hitchcock, he’s been in Dallas earlier than, however the outcomes assorted. Again, if Dallas needs to go together with somebody who is aware of the NHL panorama nicely, Tippett’s an possibility. If they need a brand new voice, the search ought to take them elsewhere.

Kirk Muller
Current: Associate coach for Montreal Canadiens
Past NHL Experience: Head coach for Carolina Hurricanes; assistant coach for St. Louis Blues

It was believed that Muller, who coached the Hurricanes to an 80-80-27 document over two-plus seasons, would have gotten one other likelihood to run his personal bench by now. That hasn’t come to fruition, nonetheless. He was ignored as the Blues’ successor when Yeo got here aboard as an affiliate, however Muller’s reference to Hitchcock makes him an intriguing possibility.

Paul MacLean
Current: N/A
Past NHL Experience: Head coach for Ottawa Senators; assistant coach for Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes

Seems exhausting to consider MacLean would go from successful the Jack Adams Award in 2012-13 to being unable to discover a teaching gig in the NHL just a few years later. Yet, right here we’re. MacLean was final an assistant with Anaheim in 2016-17, however his contract wasn’t renewed and he’s now a free agent. He’s discovered underneath some gifted coaches, and pairing him with Hitchcock may make for an attention-grabbing match.

Pascal Vincent
Current: Head coach for Manitoba Moose (AHL)
Past NHL Experience: Assistant coach for Winnipeg Jets

Fresh off of successful the AHL’s Coach of the Year Award, it might make sense that Vincent begins to get some consideration when these vacancies pop up. He’s executed large work down on Winnipeg’s farm. The query right here is whether or not or not the Jets would need to let him check the waters. He might be a helpful assistant next to Paul Maurice or a possible alternative ought to issues unexpectedly go sideways in the close to future.

Sheldon Keefe
Current: Head coach for Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Past NHL Experience: N/A

Keefe has been considered one of the few names that constantly pops up when there’s a training emptiness. With good cause, after all. Over the previous three seasons, Toronto’s AHL membership has gained 147 of their 215 video games underneath Keefe’s watch. The Marlies have additionally gained three playoff rounds in the previous two seasons and are again in the AHL post-season once more this 12 months with considered one of the league’s prime groups. A Calder Cup victory would actually increase Keefe’s inventory.

Todd Nelson
Current: Head coach for Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Past NHL Experience: Interim head coach for Edmonton Oilers; assistant coach for Atlanta Thrashers

Speaking of boosting your inventory, Nelson coached the Griffins to the Calder Cup in 2016-17 and it was the second time in his tenure as knowledgeable bench boss that he captured the AHL crown. He had beforehand helped information the Chicago Wolves to an AHL title in 2007-08, and he’s a two-time UHL champion, for what that’s price. He’s gained at each degree, so perhaps now could be his likelihood to take a shot at the NHL — that’s if Detroit will let Nelson even interview for the job.

Derek Laxdal
Current: Head coach for Texas Stars (AHL)
Past NHL Experience: N/A

Sometimes the best reply is the proper one, and shifting Laxdal up from the AHL to take over the NHL bench makes some sense. He’s bought an understanding of the younger expertise that has come by the ranks and he’s had success down in Texas, successful 151 video games over the previous 4 seasons. He’s gained ECHL and AHL titles, too, so he has a historical past of success. With Hitchcock serving to right here and there, perhaps it’s Laxdal’s time to make the soar.

Philippe Boucher
Current: N/A
Past NHL Experience: N/A

A bit off the board, however Boucher made headlines in the main junior world earlier this week when he resigned as each coach and GM of the Quebec Remparts. His success with the QMJHL membership hasn’t gone unnoticed and there’s a connection price noting right here: Boucher performed almost half of his 748-game NHL profession in Dallas — 346 video games, throughout which he scored 52 targets and 162 factors — and even earned first-, second- and third-place votes for the Norris Trophy for his spectacular 2006-07 season with the Stars.

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