Willie Desjardins' 43-22-5-6 record in 2012-2013 with the Texas Stars produced minor buzz in hockey circles last summer, but serious consideration for an NHL job was never really in play, seemingly.
His league-best 48-18-3-7 (106 points) in 2013-2014 and subsequent run through the AHL's Western Conference playoff bracket is not quite as under-the-radar this year.
Teams have been rumored to be sniffing, with the rumor cycle progressing today to the Darren Dreger level of TSN, who says White-board Willie could end up where the Stars' last coaching departure did...
The Canucks have not yet asked the Dallas Stars for permission to speak with Desjardins, but expectation is they will.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 20, 2014
After a turn at "associate head coach" under Marc Crawford and Glen Gulutzan, Desjardins made what is starting to look like a brilliant decision in accepting the head job in Cedar Park, where he had done what he does best- Develop young players and get the most out of them.
He spent eight years in Medicine Hat, B.C., doing the same with the Tigers of the WHL, including a Memorial Cup appearance and a WHL championship. He's proven adept at multiple levels in helping young men along their journey toward bigger and better things- As had Gulutzan. Does that skill set translate to leading men at the NHL level? It appears as though several teams could kick the tires and ask those questions, but none have quite the buzz that Vancovuer does right now.
With John Tortorella fired after a single season and GM Mike Gillis also departed, still without replacement, it's a volatile situation.
Losing Desjardins would be a significant loss for the Stars' developmental system, but as minor league coaches help players succeed and then watch them move on, so too must organizations with their coaching talent. It might prove to be the price of success in Cedar Park these last two years.