Word is Dallas Stars have hired former Red Wings G coach Jim Bedard to work in AHL after Mike Valley told organization he wasn't coming back— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) May 24, 2017
The move isn’t entirely surprising given the way that the goaltending has performed in Dallas the last few years and the lack of goaltender development throughout the system.
Let’s take it back a few years to understand how the organization got where it is today.
Valley’s career with the Stars began as a goaltending coach in 2009. He would coach until the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, when he was transitioned into a Director of Goaltending Development role and given more responsibility for the goaltenders throughout the organization.
The timing of his start with the organization is important. It was the season after the Stars traded away Mike Smith in a multi-player trade that netted them Brad Richards. Smith is the last goaltender to go through the Stars development system and play in significant games at the NHL level.
That’s not to say that Valley didn’t coach some good goaltenders at the NHL level. After all, he had several great seasons of Kari Lehtonen in there. But the identification and development of goaltending prospects has become a weakness in that time frame instead of the strength that it had been in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
It’s possible that the move to the developmental role over the coaching role was a little bit of “writing on the wall” that the team may be looking to go a different direction in more ways than just between the pipes.
The reported replacement of Valley is going to be Jim Bedard. Coming off a season with the OHL Windsor Spitfires, Bedard had been part of the Detroit Red Wings for nearly 20 years before that. He and current Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill won three Stanley Cups over their tenure together in Detroit.
What could this move ultimately do for the Stars organization, if proven true?
First, it would give the organization a fresh voice on goaltending to add to the newer voice of goaltending coach Jeff Reese, who was hired on two seasons ago. Secondly, Bedard’s role is likely to include more travel to the Stars’ AHL affiliate Texas Stars in Cedar Park in order to provide their goaltenders more developmental direction.
The Stars had no official comment about the reports. However, they’re still in the process of finalizing their coaching staff and hockey operations staff for next season, at which time they’ll likely address Valley’s future with the Stars organization.