Where does Steve Yzerman go to find the Tampa Bay Lightning's next coach?
New Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he wants to have a coach in place by the start of free agency, meaning July 1. Most interesting is that Yzerman, while saying he wants someone who has been a head coach, that person does not necessarily need head coaching experience in the NHL.
In other words, the Lightning's next coach may not be a household name.
Where does Yzerman look? There are plenty of candidates out there, and the following list is meant only as a, perhaps, starting point.
Gerard Gallant, 46: Named the Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year after leading Saint John of the QMJHL to a franchise-record 53 wins. The former Lightning left wing was a teammate of Yzerman with the Red Wings from 1984-93. The two still are close.
Paul MacLean, 52: A Red Wings assistant for five years, he also played with Yzerman during the 1988-89 season. Was also a Ducks assistant. His head coaching experience was with IHL Kansas City from 1997-2000 and with IHL Peoria from 1993-96. He was the Hockey News minor league coach of the year in 1994.
Mike Haviland, 42: In his second season as Blackhawks assistant, Haviland is credited with the development of Dustin Byfuglien. Haviland was head coach of AHL Norfolk from 2005-07 and AHL Rockford from 2007-08. He won ECHL titles in 2003 with Atlantic City and 2005 Trenton.
Brad McCrimmon, 41: Another former teammate of Yzerman's, the former defenseman spent the past two seasons as a Red Wings assistant, and also was an assistant with the Thrashers, Flames and Islanders. He was coach of Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League from 1998-2000.
Kevin Dineen, 46: Has been head coach of AHL Portland the past five years and, to some, is the front-runner for the Blue Jackets job. Dineen is good friends with Yzerman.
Scott Arniel, 47: The head coach of AHL Manitoba. Was the league coach of the year in 2008-09.
Guy Boucher, 38: The head coach for AHL Hamilton was the league's coach of the year this season.
And for those of you who like the old guard, other possibilities are Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay, Rangers assistant Mike Sullivan (both of whom are former Lightning assistants), Craig MacTavish, Ken Hitchcock and Bob Hartley.
Feel free to add your own choices.