Despite having one of the more attractive jobs out on the market, with a roster that includes a solid offensive core and a financial situation that makes plenty of spending available, the Dallas Stars have spent the last several days watching their top two candidates accept jobs with other clubs.
Their top candidate, Alain Vigneault, withdrew his name from consideration and will head to New York. John Tortorella was considered another favorite for the job, but all indications are that he’ll be headed up to Vancouver. Where does this leave the Stars in their search for a new bench boss?
Having spent a good deal of time dragging their feet, the Stars might now have to turn to one of their backup plans, the most likely of which includes Lindy Ruff. The former Buffalo Sabres coach has bounced around during the interview process, being courted by multiple teams but still finding himself without a job.
The Stars now find him at the top of their list of candidates. He really looks to be the only recognizable name on their list, which is probably going to include a few guys from the minor league ranks as well. We don’t know how extensive the talks have been with Ruff, but we do know that general manager Jim Nill has had at least one conversation with him.
Ruff is a veteran coach who has been through a lot in his time in the league. A team like Dallas, with some young players and a promising future, could be the right fit for him. His time with the Sabres included a couple of division titles, three appearances in the conference final, and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance against the Stars way back in 1999.
It’s going to be seen as a disappointment, regardless of who the Stars land for their head coaching vacancy at this point. Vigneault turned down the job for a bigger market, and Tortorella may do the same. But the Stars could do worse than hiring Lindy Ruff as their next man behind the bench.