Aside from the obvious names, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to possible replacements and their various qualifications. I know Darryl Sutter, I know Brent Sutter and…well, that's about it aside from other ex-NHL coaches whom I don't think have much of a chance anyways (Quinn, Nolan, Crawford, Renney).
More may be revealed in Sutter's presser tomorrow, but for now let's compile some of the names that have been suggested thus far:
– Scott Arniel – coach of the AHL Manitoba Moose. Vancouver's minor league affiliate led the AHL with 50 wins and 107 points this year.
– Ryan McGill – Headed the Flames AHL affiliate since 05/06. None of the Flames teams under him have been better than mediocre, although he's often had less than impressive rosters to work with. McGill has the benefit of intimate knowledge of the organizations inner workings as well as it's various prospects and young players.
– Dave Lowry – Enjoyed a spectacular rookie season behind the bench of the WHL's Hitmen, who put together one of the best records in the CHL under his direction. A former player, Lowry is familiar with both the management and some of the players, which may work for or against him. It's fairly rare that a guy jumps straight from Junior to the big leagues as well.
– Bob Boughner – Another former Flame and another stand-out season in Junior, Boughner coached the CHL-best Windsor Spitfires to a Memorial Cup championship. A lot of the issues listed above apply here as well.
– Tim Hunter – The former Flames pugilist has been an assistant coach in the NHL for nearly a decade, spending a majority of time with the San Jose Sharks under Ron Wilson. He was booted by the Sharks with Wilson and was subsequently hired by the Leafs. I have no idea if he has aspirations to be the bench boss or is happy being Wilson's right hand man.
As the search narrows, I'm sure certain names will be discarded and others brought to light. We'll investigate guys as they're mentioned – and there's going to be more than one, since the club will be looking to replace probably the entire coaching staff this off-season.
by Kent Wilson