The Dallas Stars had made former Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault one of the top targets of their search for a new bench boss, and after he turned them down in favor of the New York Rangers they will have to take another look at their search. Another top target, Dallas Eakins, has taken the Edmonton Oilers’ coaching job, which leaves the Stars with one less option. While Dallas has many great young pieces in place, they have also failed to make the playoffs the past five seasons. The fact that the job wasn’t appealing to Vigneault should leave the Stars a little worried, as they might also have trouble landing a veteran coach like John Tortorella or Lindy Ruff.
The Stars boast a deep system of prospects, but the lockout-shortened season saw them trade away veteran talents Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr. New general manager Jim Nill has two great pieces to build around in goaltender Kari Lehtonen and forward Jamie Benn, and he now has to convince a qualified candidate how appealing the team’s head coaching vacancy is.
Vigneault has won 422 games in his coaching career, and took the Canucks to the playoffs in five of the six seasons he was behind the bench there. As the draft and the start of free agency approaches, look for Nill to start being more active in his search for a new leader, perhaps giving someone already in the organization (Curt Fraser or Willie Desjardins) a shot or going after one of the veteran coaches mentioned above.