It looks like the Dallas Stars will be getting younger in the coaching position. Reports surfaced, and then were subsequently confirmed, that Glen Gulutzan will be the next coach of the Dallas Stars. Gulutzan has spent the past two years as the head coach of the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate to the Dallas Stars. With this hiring, Gulutzan will be the youngest head coach in the NHL, just edging Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher by nine days.
This is a solid hiring for the Stars as Gulutzan has been a winner pretty much his entire coaching career. He spent six years from 2003-2009 as the head coach for the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers and was one of the best coaches while he was there. His team was the first in ECHL history to have 3-straight 100 point seasons. He then spent two years with the Texas Stars, making the playoffs both years and making the Calder Cup Finals once although his team lost. He ended up with a 87-56-17 career record.
After Marc Crawford was fired, reports surfaced that the players on the team didn’t communicate well with him and that Crawford just didn’t mesh well with the team. He made questionable line-up decisions during the latter part of the season and never seemed to know what his player’s strengths were.
Gulutzan is on the other end of the coaching spectrum. He’s known to be a player’s coach and found a way to field a winning team despite the constant shuffling of players as the Dallas Stars called up and demoted players throughout the season. He’s also an economical choice and will cost millions less than someone like Ken Hitchcock. For a team that is desperate for money, that makes all the difference in who they might try to sign in free agency.
The question now becomes will the Stars be a rebuilding team or a team that is ready to win? They were inches away from a playoff spot last season, but will be without their best player next year in Brad Richards. Gulutzan might be a coach that splits the difference between those two team ideals. Many of the players for this team will be young guys, guys that Gulutzan has worked with before when they had stints in the AHL.
Jamie Benn, Philip Larsen, Tomas Vincour are all guys that constitute the future of this team and they know what kind of coach Gulutzan is. This will be a team that grows with their coach.
A formal announcement won’t be made until this weekend at the earliest, out of repect for the newly crowned NBA champions Dallas Mavericks, but look for a press conference next week.
Step one in the organizational rebuild is now done with the coach hiring. The next step is now the ownership, which is still under negotiation.