The Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers still need to hire head coaches for next season. The problem is, two of the top candidates — Willie Desjardins and John Stevens — are still busy coaching.
Desjardins’ Texas Stars advanced to the Calder Cup Finals last night. They’ll play the St. John’s Ice Caps in a series that could last until June 23.
Stevens, meanwhile, could be tied up until June 18 with a little thing called the Stanley Cup Final; he’s an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings.
The NHL draft goes June 27-28 in Philadelphia.
There are other coaching candidates — heck, a couple of guys on the New York Rangers’ staff, Scott Arniel and Ulf Samuelsson, might get interviews — but the two that have been mentioned the most for the Vancouver job are Desjardins and Stevens.
Desjardins, who likes to “move the puck and attack,” would especially seem to be a fit with the Canucks, whose new general manager, Jim Benning, has said he wants his team to “play an up-tempo, fast-skating, skilled game.”
Stevens was reportedly a finalist for the Vancouver job that eventually went to John Tortorella. At the time, Canucks GM Mike Gillis, since fired, was of the belief his team had to play a more physical style, like the Kings do, to be successful. (He later recanted.) Which is a long way of saying Stevens may have had his best chance at the Vancouver job when Gillis was still in charge; however, that’s just speculation.