Playing Career: 1980 - 1991
Coaching Career: 1993 - present
Drafted in 1978, MacLean was traded to the Winnipeg Jets before making his full-season NHL debut, scoring 36 goals as a rookie. Paul MacLean played 11 seasons in the NHL, mostly with the Jets, and became known as a power play specialist as a right wing and center. His best season was in 1984 when he finished with 41 goals and 101 points with Winnipeg yet was a very prolific goal-scorer throughout his career; he only finished a full season with less that 30 goals once in his career, when he had just 27 goals in 1985-86.
After playing with the Detroit Red Wings for one season in 1988-89, he was traded back to the team that drafted him -- the St. Louis Blues. After another 30+ goal season in 1989-90. MacLean suffered a rib injury that limited him to just 37 games in 1990 and eventually led to his retirement.
MacLean holds the honor as the highest scoring French-born player in NHL history, although he moved to Canada when he was two and played for Team Canada at the 1980 Olympics.
Initially a scout for the Blues, MacLean bounced between the IHL and the NHL as a coach, having a stint as an assistant coach in Phoenix in 1996-97. He was named Minor League Coach Of The Year in 1994 as the head coach of the Peoria Rivermen.
He then took over the head coaching duties of the Quad City Mallards of the UHL from 2000 to 2002, leading his team to the 2001 Colonial Cup and losing just 27 games in three seasons.
MacLean joined head coach Mike Babcock in Anaheim in 2002 and won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in their first season together. When Babcock left Anaheim to become the coach of the Detroit Red Wings, MacLean followed and is now in his seventh season as an assistant coach of the Wings.
How he fits:
MacLean falls into the category -- like Kirk Muller -- as an assistant coach that someone is going to give a job too, very soon. He's been working under Babcock for nearly a decade as an assistant coach in the NHL and his name is starting to be mentioned more and more of coaches on the short list for any openings around the NHL. There's no sign that he's ready to leave Detroit but it's a more than logical thought that if the right situation comes along he'd be more than willing take a promotion.
MacLean has had much success as a head coach in the minor leagues and he's been part of two very successful teams between Anaheim and Detroit. Working under Babcock, part of what is generally considered one of the best organizations in the NHL, you know that MacLean knows exactly what it takes to win in this league. He'd bring an offensive-attacking style that never compromises defense and he'd do it with intensity and professionalism. He's considered one of the top assistants in the NHL and he deserves more than just a brief look by Joe Nieuwendyk.
How he doesn't fit:
Tough to say, other than the fact that he might not be willing to leave Detroit just yet. He has extensive experience as a head coach as multiple levels and he's been an assistant under one of the most successful coaches of the last decade. We also have no exact idea who Nieuwendyk would be interested in as his next coach, but you have to think that a coach with the track record -- who has been in a system that the Stars want to emulate -- would be at the top of his list.