10 potential coaching candidates the Flames could consider

May 15 2023, 10:34 pm

The Calgary Flames are in the market for a new head coach.

After a disastrous 2022-23 season in which they failed to make the playoffs, the organization chose to part ways with Darryl Sutter after a roughly two-year reunion.

Finding the right coach is never easy, but the Flames appear to be doing their due diligence on who to bring in to help get this team back to their success from a season ago, one in which they racked up a Pacific Division-leading 111 points.

While they have no set date for naming a new bench boss, here are 10 candidates that are worthy of consideration.

Gerard Gallant

Despite his most recent tenure with the New York Rangers coming to a frustrating end less than a week ago, Gerard Gallant has often gotten winning results throughout his lengthy coaching career. In 705 games behind the bench, he has put together a record of 369-262-4.

Also worth noting is that he has a relationship with Jonathan Huberdeau, coaching him for parts of three seasons with the Florida Panthers from 2014-2016.

Bruce Boudreau

If the Flames are looking for more of a players coach this time around, who better than Bruce Boudreau? The 68-year-old is highly regarded as a players coach, and, like Gallant, has had plenty of regular season success throughout his lengthy career behind the bench.

Boudreau’s 617 wins as a head coach at the NHL level has him tied for 20th all-time with an all-time great in Jacques Lemaire, proving just how beneficial he has been for the teams that have employed him in the past.

Andrew Brunette

After taking over the Florida Panthers early in the 2021-22 season and leading them to a Presidents’ Trophy, Andrew Brunette was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. He went on to be fired shortly afterward, as the organization decided they wanted a more experienced head coach in Paul Maurice.

Brunette has a relationship with not only Huberdeau but Weegar as well, having coached them both just a season ago in Florida.

Mitch Love

In recent years, more and more teams seem to be willing to hire internally when it comes to the head coaching position. The Edmonton Oilers did so not too long ago with Jay Woodcroft, and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if the Flames were to do the same with Mitch Love.

After spending several seasons behind the bench in the WHL, the Flames organization chose to bring in Love as their AHL coach last season, and the results have paid off. In his first two regular seasons as a head coach at the professional level, Love has led his team to an outstanding 96-33-11 record.

Ryan Huska

Another internal option the Flames have available is Ryan Huska. The 47-year-old currently serves as the team’s assistant coach and was interviewed by both the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks a season ago in regard to their head coaching positions.

Prior to his current role, Huska spent four seasons in the Flames’ organization as their head coach at the AHL level. While he didn’t have the success Love has had thus far, he never had a losing record during his four seasons, finishing with a combined 135-118-27 record.

Dallas Eakins

Seeing Dallas Eakins’ head coaching record of 136-210-58 doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence, but it also doesn’t tell the whole story. The 56-year-old was tasked with turning around the pre-Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers, and was given an equally tough gig as the Anaheim Ducks coach over the past four seasons.

Perhaps an opportunity with a more talented roster is exactly what he needs to cement himself as a top-end coach at the NHL level.

Alain Vigneault

Alain Vigneault is patiently awaiting another crack at an NHL coaching gig. The 62-year-old last served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers but was fired after missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

Prior to his Flyers stint, he had plenty of success behind the bench with a number of teams, as his 722 wins as a head coach rank 10th in NHL history.

Peter Laviolette

Speaking of coaches that sit high among the all-time leaderboards, Peter Laviolette finds himself sitting eighth on the list with 752 wins. After being let go by the Washington Capitals just a month ago, he may be eager to find a new team in order to continue building on his winning total.

The 56-year-old not only has plenty of experience as a head coach at the NHL level but has Stanley Cup-winning pedigree, as he helped the Carolina Hurricanes go the distance back in 2005-06.

Travis Green

Travis Green’s coaching tenure with the Vancouver Canucks was a rocky one. Though he helped lead the team to some success in the 2019-20 season, they continually regressed afterward until his firing in December 2021.

Though Green was given a tough roster to work with, there were things he could have done better. He has now had a season and a half to reflect on such things and may be ready for another opportunity.

Mike Babcock

Will Mike Babcock ever return behind the bench? Probably not, though if he is itching to get a shot at redemption after his unceremonious departure from the Toronto Maple Leafs, perhaps he and the Flames could serve as a fit.

While not all former players have had the kindest things to say about the way he conducts his business, most are quick to acknowledge that he is a fantastic coach. Perhaps the Flames could be the organization that gives him another shot and allows for his public persona to change.

Colton PankiwColton Pankiw

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