The Dallas Stars will soon start to focus on filling their head coaching vacancy, and while there are some interesting and experienced candidates available, their best option may already be in the organization. When the Stars fired head coach Glen Gulutzan and assistant coach Paul Jerrard, they did not get rid of assistant coach Curt Fraser. As the former head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers and as someone who worked closely with new Stars GM Jim Nill for many years, Fraser should not only be considered for the job but should have a pretty good shot at it.
Fraser and Nill worked together when the former was the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL and the latter was the assistant GM for the Detroit Red Wings. Fraser may not have the most impressive win-loss record from his head coaching gigs, but he was instrumental in helping the Red Wings develop some of the players currently on their roster. Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl are just a few of the players who played under Fraser in Grand Rapids and have proven able to contribute for the Red Wings at the highest level. This season saw Fraser work with the Stars’ power play unit, which was 18th in the league. The fact that he is familiar with the team’s current players should also swing things in his favor, but his lack of postseason experience will work against him.
Fraser has one year remaining on his contract, so if he isn’t chosen as head coach, he most likely will still return as an assistant. It may be a risky move for Nill to hire him, but he at least deserves to be considered for the job.