The end of the week brought about a flurry of coaching moves around the league, as pretty much every team with a head coaching vacancy either locked down a new coach, or got much closer to doing so. The Dallas Stars were among the teams to find their new bench boss, hiring veteran coach Lindy Ruff.
Many will look at this move and immediately realize that Ruff was not the fire choice for the vacancy. The Stars were heavily considering Alain Vigneault before he moved on and accepted the job in New York. And we may never know how serious the talks between Dallas and John Tortorella were.
While Ruff wasn’t the first choice, he’s here now, just in time for the Stars to begin evaluating their current roster, the free agent market, and this year’s draft class. Is this the right move for the Stars? After all, they’re a young team that just hired an old coach who wore out his welcome at his previous stop.
It’s tough to look at this move and be too critical about it. Ruff is the type of guy who’s been through plenty in his lengthy coaching career, be it financial woes or rebuild. He has demonstrated an ability to adapt, but there are still some concerns, particularly his ability (or lack of) to work with young players.
The direction that this franchise is heading in is one that will put an emphasis on player development. Their new general manager, Jim Nill, came from Detroit, who does that better than anybody in the business. Ruff doesn’t have a terrific track record in dealing with or helping to developing that young talent, so that is a concern.
Nonetheless, he’s a veteran coach with a solid core to work with, and some other up and comers. As long as Nill can help to put the right people around him, Ruff could very well find some success in Dallas. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the coaching staff, and eventually the roster, shakes out now that they have a new bench boss in place.