The Vancouver Canucks finally did what nearly everyone on the planet was expecting them to do after yet another playoff failure, parting ways with head coach Alain Vigneault. This move was a long time coming after a second consecutive loss in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, on top of the additional failures in the years before.
There’s no doubt that Vigneault will be picked up quickly. He’s one of the best coaches in the league, and will have a job almost instantly, probably in Dallas. The question for the Canucks is which direction that they could go in with their head coaching search. It’s a question that has a simple answer.
Aside from Vigneault, the hottest name on the coaching market is that of Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. Tippett is a “free agent” in July, as his contract with the Coyotes is up. The Coyotes may not be able to afford to keep him around, and Tippett may want to go to a market that is a little more secure.
Tippett has done wonders with the small market Coyotes, turning them from a lower tier franchise into one of the top defensive clubs in the league. His system has done wonders for goaltenders, such as Mike Smith, though it hasn’t seen too much success in the postseason.
That isn’t going to stop the Canucks from having interest, however. In fact, it is believed that ownership is prepared to push hard for the likes of Tippett to take over for Vigneault behind the bench. Of course, it’s a matter of if that’s the type of system that Mike Gillis wants to bring in.
Tippett brings that defense-first mentality to the ice. That was part of his downfall with the Coyotes, in that they didn’t have what it took on offense to turn into real formidable contenders. Then again, he lacked the proper personnel to have any sort of potent offensive attack, both in his time with Phoenix and prior to that in Dallas.
That wouldn’t be the case in Vancouver, where there are some upper tier offensive players already on the roster. There’s no doubt that Tippett is one of the league’s best coaches. Vancouver brass knows that, and they will take the steps to try and get him behind the bench, assuming he’s not re-upped by the Coyotes prior to July rolling around.
At that point, we’ll see if he’s the right fit for an organization that is starved for a Stanley Cup.