Blues hire Jim Montgomery, formerly of Stars, as assistant coach

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While his former team the Stars just reached the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Jim Montgomery will now serve as an assistant for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues announced a two-year contract for Montgomery as an assistant coach to Craig Berube.

“We are excited to add Jim to our team and to Craig (Berube’s) staff,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. “Jim has won at every level he has coached at and we look forward to him being a valuable addition to our team.”

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Montgomery goes from fired by Stars to hired by Blues

With this hiring, Montgomery takes the next step on what one would assume his journey to try to become an NHL head coach once again.

Back in December, the Stars fired Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct.” While specific details of incidents didn’t leak, Montgomery entered rehab for alcohol abuse in January.

For Montgomery, this is an opportunity to show GMs that he’s on the right track. (It may also be a wise way to ease back into the pressures of coaching. Being an assistant can’t be easy, yet you don’t face the same criticism as a head coach.)

It’s also a great deal for the Blues. (Even beyond needing to replace Marc Savard.)

As much credit as Rick Bowness deserves for the Stars’ 2020 Stanley Cup run, Montgomery’s responsible for putting together the framework for the Stars’ stingy defense. This team had been striving to play that clamp-down style ever since things went sour under Lindy Ruff, but it was Montgomery who most consistently found a winning formula.

… Until Bowness, it seems?

[More on the Stars making it to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final]

Either way, this gives the Blues a coach who appears to be a skillful tactician, while Montgomery gets a chance to prove himself.

This continues a busy week or so for the Blues. While it has not yet been confirmed, multiple reporters (including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun) indicate that Blues assistant GM Bill Armstrong is expected to become the Arizona Coyotes’ next GM.

MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.