- Craig Custance
A general manager has only so many coaching hires before ownership starts to question the man doing the hiring. So Jim Nill isn't rushing this.
The first-year Dallas GM made the hard decision to fire Stars coach Glen Gulutzan one week ago, and Nill is just now starting to work through his list of potential replacements and reaching out to candidates at the top.
"You have to have patience in whatever you do," Nill said during a phone conversation late last week. "Everybody knows the common names that are out there. It's important to really research and go through every team. Is there that one guy out there that you didn't think of?"
While the process works itself out, options disappear. The Denver Post reports that the Colorado Avalanche might be closing in on hiring Patrick Roy, with Roy's brother Stephane saying the final details are being worked out. The team had not confirmed the deal as of Tuesday morning, though.
Of course, the options also could increase. Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis is taking his own time deciding on the future of Alain Vigneault, and, if Gillis fires him, Vigneault likely would catapult to the top of the Dallas Stars' wish list.
In Phoenix, the Coyotes are hopeful that there will be positive news regarding the possible sale of the team at some point before coach Dave Tippett's contract expires at the end of June. Tippett's preference would be to remain in Phoenix, if there's stable ownership, with the management team currently in place.
But everything changes if the team moves. Or if a new owner wants to bring in his own group to manage and coach, although that would be remarkably shortsighted, considering the job Tippett and GM Don Maloney and his staff have done in the desert.
If Tippett becomes available, that could shake loose another coaching option for teams looking for new leadership behind the bench.
"There's teams that are waiting to see what happens with him," one NHL source said. "Some of these teams that either have openings or may [eventually] have openings, they're going to see what the field of candidates looks like."
Even now, with the candidates we know are out there, including Lindy Ruff, Nill called it a strong coaching market. For him, it's about finding a fit for where his team is right now.
"We've had a team that's been good for five years, with kids," Nill said. "We have to get them in that right environment and learning the right lifestyle. It's more about a lifestyle, being a pro hockey player every day. That's the direction."
Here's a look at that market.
Top AHL candidate
With rumors swirling of Patrick Roy's return to Colorado as the Avs' new head coach, Craig Custance explores the summer coaching market and some of the top candidates at the NHL, AHL, junior and college levels.