06 May 2013
Today AJ over at Mile high Hockey presented an interesting argument for the Avs hiring Dallas Eakins of the Toronto Marlies (the Maples Leafs AHL affiliate) It is an argument that certainly piques my interest. That said, One of the things I really want out of the Avs in this process is a a comprehensive coaching search. In addition to Eakins, I really hope the Avs take a look at a coach who isn't yet available, but may be very soon.
One name that might be available and I think the Avs should look at is the current coach of the Avs much hated rivals Alain Vigneault. I know he's a hated Canuck and all, but I really think he's one of the best coaches in the NHL, and it's because he understand how to best use his offensive players an example:
In 06-07 he started coaching the Canucks and the Sedins. The Sedins were 26, which, in hockey player terms, is the end of their traditional offensive primes. Before AV arrived they had peaked the previous year (age 25) with 75 points for Henrik, and 71 points for Daniel. Their first season with AV they each had greater than 80 (81, & 84 respectively)
What AV did was realize that, even though they are perfectly capable defensively, their talents should really be used in the Offensive zone as much as possible. The Sedins then started increasing in points the next three years until peaking at 29 with 112 pts for Henrik, and 30 with 102pts for Daniel. Hard to tell in a 48 game season, but it appears both are still at their near prime. It'a also important to look at what he's done with Kesler (whom ROR fits a pretty decent mold but with more character!)
The Avs have Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Ryan O'Reilly entering their primes, not leaving them as the case with the Sedins, and they may benefit under Vigneault's willingness to put them in situations that allow them to flourish. Not to be outdone, but the Canucks backline has always been competent as well.
Of concern with AV: he sometimes let public pressure get to him, especially with goal tending. The Luongo/Schneider situation deteriorated when he went with Schneider in the playoffs because, well Canuckistan media. He's also not likely to face that kind of pressure here.
Hopefully the Avs vet both these candidates, and more, before coming to the best decision.