It’s very early – the team calls it “the preliminary phase of the interview process” – but so far, the Denver Post reports that the Colorado Avalanche are mainly focusing their head coaching search on fresher faces.
Three of the top four candidates listed by Terry Frei and Mike Chambers haven’t held a head coaching job at the NHL level before. Jared Bednar (currently with the Lake Erie Monsters), Lane Lambert (Washington Capitals assistant) and Travis Green (Utica Comets) are those first-timers.
Former Columbus Blue Jackets and current New York Rangers associate head coach Scott Arniel is the only candidate who’s been an NHL bench boss before.
Bednar received top billing in the Denver Post article because of his connections in the Avs organization:
Many people reasonably throw more recognizable names around, with former Avalanche head coach Bob Hartley getting a lot of buzz.
It’s possible that Hartley will be in the mix, but he wasn’t mentioned as one of the four candidates who are currently receiving the most focus.
Also, it’s important to note that it’s unlikely that the Avs will go on the record all that often when they don’t need to. Frei and Chambers mention that GM Joe Sakic isn’t expected to comment on the matter until a new head coach is named.
In most cases, the Avalanche will need to receive permission to interview candidates. There’s not much/any precedence for a search to go on this deep into the summer, especially with Patrick Roy voluntarily stepping down, so it’s unclear if Colorado will even get the chance to interview everyone on that list.
It may not be just about who the Avalanche want the most, but also which candidates they can gain access to.
Shortly following Roy’s departure, the team stated that it isn’t planning on promoting from within. That’s an understandable plan … but finding a great fit in mid-to-late August will be easier said than done.