Where does Steve Yzerman go to find the Tampa Bay Lightning's next coach?
New Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he wants to have a coach in place by the start of free agency, meaning July 1. Most interesting is that Yzerman, while saying he wants someone who has been a head coach, that person does not necessarily need head coaching experience in the NHL.
In other words, the Lightning’s next coach may not be a household name.
Where does Yzerman look? There are plenty of candidates out there, and the following list is meant only as a, perhaps, starting point.
Gerard Gallant, 46: Named the Canadian Hockey League’s coach of the year after leading Saint John of the QMJHL to a franchise-record 53 wins. The former Lightning left wing was a teammate of Yzerman with the Red Wings from 1984-93. The two still are close.
Paul MacLean, 52: A Red Wings assistant for five years, he also played with Yzerman during the 1988-89 season. Was also a Ducks assistant. His head coaching experience was with IHL Kansas City from 1997-2000 and with IHL Peoria from 1993-96. He was the Hockey News minor league coach of the year in 1994.
Mike Haviland, 42: In his second season as Blackhawks assistant, Haviland is credited with the development of Dustin Byfuglien. Haviland was head coach of AHL Norfolk from 2005-07 and AHL Rockford from 2007-08. He won ECHL titles in 2003 with Atlantic City and 2005 Trenton.
Brad McCrimmon, 41: Another former teammate of Yzerman’s, the former defenseman spent the past two seasons as a Red Wings assistant, and also was an assistant with the Thrashers, Flames and Islanders. He was coach of Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League from 1998-2000.
Kevin Dineen, 46: Has been head coach of AHL Portland the past five years and, to some, is the front-runner for the Blue Jackets job. Dineen is good friends with Yzerman.
Scott Arniel, 47: The head coach of AHL Manitoba. Was the league coach of the year in 2008-09.
Guy Boucher, 38: The head coach for AHL Hamilton was the league’s coach of the year this season.