Former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is believed to be in Frisco, TX. today for a second interview regarding Dallas’ vacant head coaching gig, the Morning News reports.
Ruff is a frontrunner for the position, which Stars GM Jim Nill is expected to fill in the near future. It’s believed the organization would like a coach in place prior to the NHL Entry Draft (set to go on June 30) and the start of free agency (July 5) — and recent developments suggest Dallas is getting close to a decision.
One of its candidates, Alain Vigneault, already accepted the Rangers job. Dave Tippett sounds as though he’s close to re-upping with the Coyotes, and Dallas Eakins has agreed to take the Oilers’ head coaching gig.
But there is another candidate to consider — AHL Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashil.
Blashill had previously unavailable for interviews as he was in the midst of the Calder Cup Playoffs — the Griffins captured the championship on Tuesday — but is believed to be on Nill’s wish list.
Part of Nill’s duties as the assistant GM in Detroit was to oversee Grand Rapids, so he has an extensive relationship with Blashill, who served one year as an assistant under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings before taking the Griffins’ head coaching gig.
That said, Nill also has a relationship with Ruff — the two worked together with Hockey Canada on a number of entries at the World Hockey Championships.
One final name to consider is that of AHL Texas head coach Willie Desjardins.
He’s already employed by the Dallas organization and recently won the American League Coach of the Year award after leading the Stars to a 43-22-11 regular-season mark.