The AHL Texas Stars have a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Final. Win or lose, it might prove to be head coach Willie Desjardins’ final games with the team as he is likely to attract attention from NHL squads looking for a head coach (currently the Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers) once the playoffs are over.
“The teams have been very conscientious about the playoffs, so they haven’t asked for permission yet, but I’ll definitely grant it,” Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News. “I believe you want to allow your people to advance, because it’s good for the entire organization. You want your players to advance to the NHL, and you want your coaches and trainers or managers to advance. I think that’s the right way to do things.”
In addition to guiding Texas to the finals this year, he was also named the AHL coach of the year in 2013. Some of the other recently winners include Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper (2012) and top Penguins coaching candidate John Hynes (2011).
As previously noted, Desjardins favors a fast-paced attacking style that would seem to mesh with new Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning’s philosophy, but he might also challenge Hynes and others for Pittsburgh’s top job.