There aren’t a whole lot of NHL head coaching vacancies left right now. Just ask hot coaching prospect turned Milwaukee Admirals head coach Kirk Muller about that.
One potential job is the New Jersey Devils’ head coaching spot, which opened up once again after Jacques Lemaire rode off into the (trap-free?) sunset. There are plenty of would-be worthy candidates, especially guys who lean in the direction of suffocating defense. Ken Hitchcock and Michel Therrien are two examples of former bench bosses whose names have been thrown around, although hiring them would buck the fresh-faced trend of hiring either an assistant coach for a successful NHL team or a head coach of a red-hot minor league squad.
Guy Carbonneau might fit the bill in a couple ways. He was the head coach and co-owner of Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL, although he mysteriously stepped down from the coaching post this week. Carbonneau adds check marks in major categories such as “defensive minded” (many wonder if he deserves to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for the world-class defense he played during his NHL days) and “Montreal Canadiens product.” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has a clear tendency to poach coaches who have Habs ties; the team hired Pat Burns, Claude Julien, Larry Robinson and Lemaire in Lou’s time as the general manager.
With all that in mind, it makes a lot of sense that people are spreading rumors of Carbonneau becoming the new New Jersey bench boss. While that might eventually be the case, Carbonneau apparently denied that rumor during an interview on the radio show NHL Home Ice.
What does that mean? We will just have to wait and see if Carbonneau ends up being the man in New Jersey. Lamoriello might seem to have a pattern when it comes to hiring Montreal products, but just about all the other decisions he makes about coaches seem to be wildly unpredictable.