Over the weekend news reports revealed some very interesting insight into the ongoing Dallas Stars coaching search. Names we expected were mentioned directly by Joe Nieuwendyk along with one that came a bit out of left field. The Stars G.M. also mentioned an unnamed coach he is still yet to talk to and there was little hint as to just whom that might be.
A few days ago, just after the Saint John Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup, a good source of news up in Canada (this comes recommended by James Mirtle) mentioned that the Sea Dogs coach was garnering interest from the Dallas Stars and the Florida Panthers.
After taking home his second CHL coach of the year award on Saturday, Gallant suddenly has NHL teams calling, with the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers the most interested among the five teams on the hunt for replacements.
The early word, however, is that he could pass on a move up in order to take a run at leading Saint John to a repeat performance at the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, Que., next spring.
Gallant wasn't a name that had been mentioned in regards to the vacant coaching position in Dallas, but anytime a team wins the Memorial Cup -- and he's the CHL coach of the year -- it's only logical that teams are going to be very interested in trying to lure him to the NHL.
Of course, the question is whether Gallant would be a fit in Dallas and with what Nieuwendyk is looking to build once a new owner is in charge of the franchise -- and whether Gallant is even interested in coaching in the NHL at all.
Gallant has not only had an improving and talented to roster with which to work, but he's also coached an aggressive and up-tempo style of hockey that fits perfectly in the QMJHL, and apparently is able to stand out enough in the Q to earn him coach of the year honors -- twice. The style of hockey that the Sea Dogs use is not only aggressive but overwhelming, and they're a team that is threatening to be very, very good for the next few years and a lot of that is thanks to the direction of Gallant.
I know that for many of us, we're left wondering why the Stars would be interested in hiring a coach directly out of the juniors when none of the other coaching candidates are coming from the CHL. A quick glance at his coaching profile, however, reveals that Gallant isn't exactly coming out of nowhere in the CHL and is suddenly knocking on the door of the NHL: Gallant was the coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003 to 2006.
His short time in the NHL wasn't exactly successful, as he coached just 45 games before the lockout, and lasted just 15 games into the 2006 season before being fired. I know we can all agree that Columbus hasn't exactly been the best environments for coaches to grow and Ken Hitchcock himself was unable to get that franchise moving in the right direction. Yet Gallant failed to make his mark in the NHL, moving on to junior hockey and he hasn't looked back yet.
He could be an interesting option, especially as a coach that has experience in the NHL and who has shown the ability to motivate players in an offensively aggressive yet defensive-minded approach to the game. Whether he even wants to return to the NHL is questionable -- he has a good thing going in Saint John -- and it's doubtful he's a better candidate to take over the Stars than Glen Gulutzan or Kirk Muller. At the very least, Joe Nieuwendyk is apparently thinking outside the box a bit and exploring options.