With the Canucks having severed ties with Alain Vigneault, there are now three NHL head-coaching opportunities available: Vancouver, Dallas and Colorado.
And there are about five times the number of potential applicants.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the coaching candidate landscape.
Lindy Ruff: Has been mentioned for pretty much every job that’s come available. The most experienced candidate in the field — at the time of his dismissal in Buffalo, he sat 12th on the all-time wins list (571). But for all that experience, no Stanley Cup.
Alain Vigneault: He and Ruff are the only two Jack Adams winners since 2004 that are currently unemployed. List of accolades for Vigneault is long, and he’s posted at least a .610 winning percentage in each of the last five years. But for all that winning, no Stanley Cup.
Willie Desjardins: The head coach of Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, Desjardins is well-regarded and won the American League’s coach of the year award in 2013.
Mark Reeds: A bit of a darkhorse candidate (first mentioned as a possibility for the Vancouver job by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos), Reeds is currently serving as one of Paul MacLean’s assistants in Ottawa. A former NHLer, Reeds joined the Sens after a successful career coaching OHL Owen Sound.
Paul Maurice: The former Carolina and Toronto bench boss recently left his post with KHL Metallurg, and could be eying a return to the NHL.
Patrick Roy: As you may have read on this very site, Roy is reportedly close to signing on to coach his former club, the Colorado Avalanche. The knock against Roy is that he’s temperamental — but he has done a solid job coaching QMJHL Quebec, never finishing with less than a .564 winning percentage.
Dave Tippett: One of the most successful NHL coaches over the last 10 years, Tippett currently finds himself in limbo with the Coyotes. He’s reportedly in meetings with GM Don Maloney about his future with the club — his contract expires in June — and, earlier this week, told Fox Sports Arizona that the plan is to “just stay in a holding pattern until the end of June and see how things work out.”
Dallas Eakins: With his Toronto Marlies now eliminated from Calder Cup contention, Eakins — one of the American League’s best coaches over the last few years — looks like a guy ready to make the jump to the NHL. “I’m fully aware there’s been some coaching changes and there’s opportunities out there,” Eakins said, per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle. “Will we look at them? Absolutely.”
Others: Scott Arniel (former Columbus coach, currently with AHL Chicago), John Hynes (head coach AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), Mark French (head coach AHL Hershey), Mike Kitchen (former St. Louis coach, currently a Blackhawks assistant), Guy Boucher (former Tampa Bay head coach).