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Dallas Stars Coaching Candidates: Glen Gulutzan

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Age: 39
Playing career: 1986-1991, 1996-2003
Coaching carrer: 2003-2009 (ECHL), 2009-present (AHL)

Playing career: Glen Gulutzan was a left-handed center from The Pas, Manitoba and was the perfect example of a gritty and hard working forward that did whatever it took to be successful. He never made it higher than the IHL, playing seven seasons of pro hockey between the WCHL, the IHL, and the Finnish hockey leage Mestis. Gulutzan actually took four years off from competitive hockey after playing five years in the WHL. He wouldn't find on ice success until 1990 when he had 24 goals and 74 points in 72 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

He then played seven seasons of pro hockey between 1996 and 2003, primarily as a center for the Fresno Falcons of the WCHL. He was called up briefly to the IHL, yet did not have a point in four games. His best pro season came in 1999-2000 when he finished with 22 goals, 60 assists and 82 points in 70 games for the Falcons.

Coaching career: Immediately after his career as a player ended, Gulutzan would move on to coaching the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. He would find immediate success as a coach and after a brief stumble in 2004-05, he coached the first team in ECHL history to finish three straight seasons with more than 100 points. He eventually became the general manager of the Wranglers as well, and helped build a winning and successful hockey club in Las Vegas. He was named the leagues' best coach in 2008.

He was hired as the first coach of the newly minted Texas Stars, and helped lead an under-talented team all the way to the Calder Cup finals. In his second year as Stars coach, he has them in the postseason once more. He has never won a championship as a player or coach, yet has gotten his teams to the Finals twice.

Coaching style: Some say that Gulutzan is a "defensive" coach, one that preaches defense over offense with a patient style that closely resembles that of Dave Tippett. Others say that Gulutzan is merely very adept at adjusting his coaching strategy and style to the players at his disposal. When you consider the fact that the Texas Stars have not had a truly dynamic offensive player in either of his two seasons, then you aren't surprised he has coached a defensive system down in Austin.

How he fits: He's a young, proven coach who has not been "tainted" by the NHL coaching carousel. He was a very hot commodity coming out of the ECHL and many feel he was an absolute steal for the Texas Stars. He's been able to find success in non-traditional hockey markets and has done so with limited resources and rosters. He's adept at adjusting his team's style to fit the players at his disposal, and his fresh approach to hockey could definitely be something the Stars need. He has spent his entire coaching career in pro hockey and unlike coaches coming directly from the juniors, he has experience with coaching older and more seasoned hockey players.

Why he won't fit: He is still a very young coach and you wonder if perhaps more time in the AHL -- or time as an assistant in the NHL -- wouldn't be the next best step for him before taking over a team in the NHL. His age isn't necessarily a factor, but he would become one of the youngest coaches in the NHL. It's a logical thought that perhaps Joe Nieuwendyk might be looking for someone a bit more experienced, especially at the NHL level.