Flames hire Glen Gulutzan as head coach

Jun 14 2016, 5:05 pm

The search is over.

After a lengthy wait, the Calgary Flames have announced 44-year-old Glen Gulutzan as the team’s next head coach. He replaces Bob Hartley as the 16th coach in Flames history.

Since Hartley’s firing, there had been tons of speculation on who the next coach would be, and much of that talk involved Gulutzan.

Gulutzan has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks. Prior to that, he was head coach of the Dallas Stars from 2011-13, accumulating a record of 64-57-9 in his two seasons, though never qualifying for the playoffs.

With the Canucks, Gulutzan ran the penalty-kill unit that was a consistent bright spot for the team. That’s great news for a Flames squad that had a league-worst 75.5% PK rate last year.

Over the last three seasons under Gulutzan, the Canucks averaged a PK of 83.3%, considerably better than the Flames PK of 79.3% over the same span. The Stars averaged a PK of 82% during Gulutzan’s two seasons as head coach.

Gulutzan was also said to have been working closely with many of the Canucks’ young players, a trait that would certainly hold value for a young Flames team.

One concerning pattern with the teams Gulutzan has been involved with has been a consistent negative shot differential.

During his time in Dallas, the Stars were outshot by at least 200 shots each season. That averages out to -2.6 shots-per-game in 2011-12, and -4.8 in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. Last season, the Canucks were tied for the worst shot differential at -4.4.

Of course, there a number of factors that play into those results (rosters, other coaches, luck, etc.) and it’d be unfair to pin all the blame on Gulutzan.

Also, Calgary’s defensive core of Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, and Dougie Hamilton is much stronger than what Gulutzan had to work with in Vancouver or Dallas, so it will be interesting to see how he does.

The Flames finally have their coach, now they can focus on finding another essential piece for next season – a starting goaltender.

Bailey MeadowsBailey Meadows

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