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Golden Knights Coaching Candidates With The Most To Gain/Lose

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On Wednesday we highlighted several Golden Knights players that will have the most to gain and the most to lose under a new coach. Let’s reverse that and examine the same for potential head coaches.

Most To Lose

In reality no coach really loses accepting a position with the Golden Knights. The new skipper will have a roster filled with known veteran players impatiently waiting for another Cup run. However, there isn’t much room for error. There will be immediate pressure on Vegas’ next coach no matter who it is.

Barry Trotz

History would be made if Trotz led the Golden Knights to their first Stanley Cup. The 23-year veteran would be one of four coaches to win a Stanley Cup with two different franchises. Which would cement him as one of the elite coaches in NHL history. Also, Trotz will be known as the guy that was able to clean up the mess in Vegas. So, how does Trotz have anything to lose?

Trotz will have his pick of the litter. More than a handful of NHL organizations are hoping he accepts their offer. Some have weaker rosters than Vegas but have less red tape. Trotz has shown interest in having an influence on team management. Will the Cup winning coach want to deal with an already crowded Vegas front office? There’s a potential power struggle situation if Trotz wants to shop for his own groceries. Also, it’s unlikely he will sit idly by when the front office is performing their annual cap gymnastics. It’s just speculation but Trotz may have a fundamental difference chasing a Stanley Cup when his lineup is over the salary cap. That’s not how you get in the conversation with Scotty Bowman.

Paul Maurice

If hired Maurice would be a warm welcome to the Golden Knights organization. He was the former coach of the Winnipeg Jets, so he has the all important Manitoba connections the front office desires. The 24-year bench boss has had strong lineups before and appeared just once in a Stanley Cup finals. Remember when most of the hockey world predicted Maurice’s Jets sweeping the Golden Knights in 2018?

Really, Maurice wouldn’t lose much by taking Vegas’ head coach position. Unfortunately, the fans may. Over his last three postseasons, the Jets were swept by the Montreal Canadiens, lost in the bubble qualifying round, and were eliminated in six first round games. It was disappointment after disappointment in Winnipeg. It led Maurice to step down this season because he felt his team needed a fresh voice, in other words he ‘lost the team.’ Sounds a lot like what happened to Pete DeBoer. Both find the other to be superior leaders, yet neither have rings. Maurice is a safe choice, and could end up being a continuation of VGK’s last three seasons. High expectations but overall underachieved.

Most To Gain

Rick Tocchet

The former Coyotes and Lightning coach has never had a winning percentage above .529 in six seasons. However, Tocchet could boost his personal stats in Vegas. Over four seasons he quietly led a team at the bottom of the league in organizational support, payroll and talent. Somehow he managed to register 284 points in 290 games. Just imagine if he had a hungry, skilled lineup to coach.

Some consider Tocchet a player’s coach because he was a successful former player but there’s more than just having something in common. He won’t sugar coat or make excuses. Tocchet will tell it like it is, not how it could have been. The Golden Knights as a whole could use a voice like that. On the ice Tocchet was a gritty forward that played 22 seasons, scored 40+ goals twice and added 20 power play goals in 1992-93. The TNT analyst understands today’s NHL isn’t the same league he played in. Which is why Tocchet was applauded for what he did with a young, raw roster in Arizona. Winning in Vegas would earn him more respect across the league. Tocchet has a stronger personality than other candidates and if successful would fit the city of Las Vegas more than DeBoer did. If he can manage pressure and succeed here, Tocchet would be beloved in the Valley. Plus, he shops at Sprouts, which is obviously a sign of his supreme intelligence.

Joel Quenneville

Another incredibly successful coach is without a job looking for another opportunity to add to his unblemished on ice record. However, if it’s Vegas or somewhere else, Quenneville will have difficulty winning over the majority of fans. Some fans are able to compartmentalize off ice discrepancies with winning hockey, most will never accept and forgive the three time cup winning coach. If he wins they may look the other way. Let’s be honest, Quenneville can only gain if he’s hired by any franchise. Surely, he’ll get the most out of his players and will give Vegas the best chance to win 16 playoff games.

Ryan Craig

Until we get an explanation as to why he’s survived multiple coaching cuts, I’m not counting out Craig. He’s my dark horse. Think about it, it makes sense. He clearly has the backing of the organization. Craig was brought in straight from the AHL and was immediately assigned to Gerard Gallant’s staff. He’s been involved in every franchise win and loss, and has had an up close view of the ups and downs over five seasons. The 40-year-old is familiar with the players, understands the organization’s philosophies and will work hand in hand with the front office.

Craig would be playing with house money if he were named the Golden Knights head coach. If he were to successfully lead Vegas to their first Stanley Cup, Craig would be immortalized in town. There’s very little to lose. If the team loses the blame will go squarely on the players and front office. Also, Craig will naturally gain by proving to other organizations that he can lead an NHL club. It would be a bold decision from an organization that trends to value experience. Again, Craig is a dark horse but the organization must have a plan. Why else keep him around?

There are no perfect candidates. The NHL is a league widely known for recycling coaches and it’s unlikely the Golden Knights are prepared to trust an unproven candidate. Think back, every time they’ve upgraded it’s always leaned towards experience. In 2018 Nick Suzuki was traded for Max Pacioretty, an experienced NHL star. Vegas signed veterans Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo to max deals, and they hired and fired two veteran coaches. Ingenuity and risk is not something NHL organizations are interested in. Especially the 31st franchise.

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40 Comments

  1. John Tortorella

    He will push the soft players. He will be quotable and entertaining if Vegas excels and especially if they tank again.

    • THE hockey GOD

      ^^^^*******^^^^

      Rick Tocchett is a joke.

      Just say no to joke.

      COTTON
      COTTON

      COTTON

      someone STOP THE BLEEDING !

      • Gorr The Hockey God Butcher

        Care to substantiate that with anything other than the verbal flatulence you typically produce?

        • THE hockey GOD

          Gorr “care to”.

          look at his coaching record GORR HELLO, McFly ! anyone home !

          • knights fan in minny

            what does past record have to do with it things change a different group of players might do well under him oh wait your the expert on everything

      • knights fan in minny

        why because you said so who should it be know it all

    • The guy definitely has a a way to light fires under players asses, but I don’t think his fiery attitude would sit too well with those two shitheads in the FO

  2. Q4Vegas

    Quenneville will have difficulty winning over the majority of fans? Most will never forgive him? Nonsense. It’s merely a small minority of woke social justice warriors who oppose him.

  3. Blitz

    “Some fans are able to compartmentalize off ice discrepancies with winning hockey “.

    What? Do you even read fan comments? 90% of people on here don’t give fuck about Q’s off ice stuff. Did I miss something? Did he diddle a little kid or something? No, he didn’t. He just didn’t destroy the rest of his team and franchise, in a stanley cup final, over one grown man’s inability to beat the fuck out of a creepy video coach. There is so much fucked up about what Beach didn’t do at the time and finally does 11 years later. #metoo bullshit.

    Another thing Q has to gain is he won’t have sinbin bloggers asking him questions at pressers.

    • Q4VGK

      Ken’s completely out of touch with reality if he thinks the majority of fans are opposed to Quenneville. Blame the woke echo chamber of radical left Twitter.

    • Q4VGK

      *Jason’s completely out of touch with reality if he thinks the majority of fans are opposed to Quenneville. Blame the woke echo chamber of radical left Twitter.

    • Q4VGK

      *Jason is completely out of touch with reality if he thinks the majority of fans are opposed to Quenneville.

      Blame the woke echo chamber of radical left Twitter.

    • A Fan

      Q would not be hated by most of the fans, quite the opposite. Once people have looked at all of the facts and not just the PC BS, he would be welcomed with open arms. I guess Ken will never get a chance to ask him a question…life’s full of choices and he (Ken) made his.

    • Carl

      The Wokesters posers of the world (like the entire staff of the Athletic) have to pile on with the virtue signaling to make themselves feel like the little gods they know they are not…

    • Julie

      I agree with you Blitz.

    • Daryl

      You said something that I’ve wondered for a long time… how does a professional adult male athlete let something like this happen to themselves. Maybe I just don’t completely understand the situation. I get what happened to the females on the Olympic team but I just can’t comprehend this incident.

      Is someone able to explain it to me???

      • knights fan in minny

        it should have been handled with somebody getting knocked out

  4. Tim

    Like I said before Nevada has legalized prostitution and I’m sure some women are appalled with that but for the most part no one cares, Bringing in Joel Quenneville won’t even make a ripple. Q or go home should be the battle cry.

  5. Original 6 ✅

    @Blitz Buy this guy a beer. Straight talk in your face tell it like it is. ! Drop mic. Ken. ur done and take your choice of wording on Q in stick it ! Blitz just KO u in one Blog. Got to like a person who says it like most hockey players talk on & off the ice. ! WELL DONE BLITZ. no need to add anything. NOW Foley put down wine glass and roll your sleeves up cuz its on you now

  6. Galdom

    Rick Tocchet vs George McPhee – Part One

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bd1RTdrt0Ig

    Rick Tocchet vs George McPhee – Part Two

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JUE22KSHQGI

    Rick Tocchet vs George McPhee – Part Three

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rwXzYEUIfzI

    • THE hockey GOD

      @Galdom
      McPhee is one tough SOB !

      Tocchet chances of being VGK coach are slim and none. And Slim just left the building.

  7. Daryl

    I would be just fine with Q or Trotz. After listening in to Tocchet during the Pens-Rangera game, he has completely lost it. I dont think he has a clue anymore and would be a horrible de idiot for VGK.

    For me, there are only 2 choices. I’ve never liked Torts but I think he’s one he’ll of a coach. Q is just a great coach

    • THE hockey GOD

      @D , hence my post above that Tocchet is a joke.

      COTTON
      COTTON !

      • knights fan in minny

        it must be true because mr know it all said so the cotton ball king

  8. I’m on board with Q. Without a doubt at that fateful meeting, with most of the upper brass in attendance, Q should have recommended immediately suspending Aldrich (who a member of his coaching staff ) with pay pending an investigation and the recommendation should have been approved by President and CEO John McDonough who was at the meeting. Q did imply at the meeting that the matter could be disruptive to the playoffs (the final vs. PHI) but he should have suspended the guy and found someone to fill in as video coach for the series. Instead Aldrich was allowed to stay on, participated in the parade and his name was engraved on the Cup. Not good. But that was Q’s only mistake. Maybe these guys did not take the allegations seriously–after all what hockey player allows himself to be exploited sexually by another male? I agree it’s odd to say the least that Beach even went to the guy’s apartment in the first place. He had no clue this guy was gay or could be? Then he did not just leave when it became clear what was happening and/or punch the guy out? I get that he though this video coach had the power to help him get on the roster, but just leave the apartment and turn the guy in. I don’t want to speculate Beach was bi-curious but it’s hard to believe he let the guy do what he claimed he did.

    Q is 63 years old so he’s getting up there. His history is winning everywhere he goes and right away. A great coach players love to play for. A first round D who made it in the NHL. A player’s coach.

    My next choice is Tocchet. Although he does not have a winning record for his six years as head coach, his record is nearly identical to Trotz’s first six years with the Preds. Tocchet did great as an assistant with the Pens winning two Cups. As good an NHL player as he was (went straight in from the Juniors getting 39 pts in 75 games his rookie year) he’s a player’s coach like Q. Could be a diamond in the rough.

    • Pistol Pete

      To call the Kyle Beach incident an outlier in male major pro sports (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) is an understatement. In fact other than Kyle Beach has there ever been another male coach to player sexual assault. ever? Even if there was and it went unreported these events basically never happen. Elite contact sport male athletes just are not prone to become sexual assault victims of another male. It would be most likely to happen to a minor league player like Beach who is trying to make a roster but even with that it’s an oil and water situation.

      If Q coaches for the VGK:

      The odds of there being another Kyle Beach incident is effectively zero.

      Even if there was an incident the odds of Q not addressing it immediately is zero.

  9. Tim

    I think before all the rumors start they should put a coach in place let him look at film see who will fit in his system. Putting a square peg in a round hole just won’t work. That would mean giving control to the coach which might not work with the Splash Brothers. I’m not a big Dadonov fan but when you think about it 20 goals and plays every night that’s better then most of the team. He may be a keeper. I’d say it’s a given Reilly Smith will get a better offer and he deserves it. Would Karlsson play better under a different system maybe I wouldn’t count him out yet. The elephant in the room is Patch if he can’t stay healthy what’s the point of keeping him. Management is on the clock so they need to make some wise choices to tweak the team. Were no way a Stanley Cup team but I’d be happy if were just an entertaining team.

    • Mike StG

      Tim, I agree about Dadonov, plus I think he’s a better in zone player and would be a good fit with Eichel. They really just have to navigate this next year as far as cap issues. Both Patch and Dadodov’s contracts expire at season end so there is $12M that is freed up for 2023.

    • Pistol Pete

      If they could move Patch for free (not likely) a Forsberg type deal becomes “quasi” feasible. At this point they really need to hand onto all the Brissons and Morozovs they have.

      • Mike StG

        Pete – you keep bringing him up. You need to forget about Forsberg. That won’t happen. Especially given McPhee traded him away years ago. He’s going to re-sign with Preds. I agree he would be a great addition. Put him on a line with Eichel and Wow!

        But even if he doesn’t re-sign in NAS, he’s a UFA, 27 y/o, 40G and PPG player, and probably will get 9.5M+ on the open market.

      • Pistol Pete

        I know Mike StG—-what I meant by quasi feasible lol. Even moving Patch’s $7m it’s
        unlikely they can swing a Forsberg deal.

      • Pistol Pete

        hang onto

  10. Obvious

    Is Barry trotz so desparate that he would come to this 3 ring circus, report to fat bastard, coach a team that belongs in an infirmary and trust a word that foley and the 2 McMorons say?

    Come on Barry… you deserve sooo much better

  11. Paul

    Okay!!! I give in….. I will take the job….. I have no NHL. coaching experience, but. I did hold a hockey puck in my hand a few times. Okay, not a funny joke at all. I am a Marine and I am 100% positive I can get every single player to give beyond there ability game after game after game. I might get into a little trouble with the beatings for those who do not comply, however a Stanley Cup is a Stanley Cup. If I continue to have players who do not comply, there is a lot of desert in our surrounding areas where a body could not be found and there are few to ever live willing to make the journey with a body over there shoulder. Shhhh….. Don”t tell…. If you want to win…. Just say’n!!! Please place your votes for little old me!!!! All horribly written jokes aside….. I love this team and refuse to bad mouth anyone who would do a better coaching job than I could. Oh ya,,,, Shhhh…

  12. Mike StG

    Listening to Tocchet in 2nd intermission of EDM-COL game today, I like the way he thinks. Suggested maybe playing Draisaitl on wing due to his ankle issues, also his comments about getting the puck in to the zone deep. I think I’d prefer him to Trotz given his history as a good player and reputation as a player’s coach.

    • Mike StG

      My #1 choice just became available – Bruce Cassidy. Sure hope he lands in Vegas. Great match for the veteran lineup here.

      If Vegas was young like OTT, VAN or even NYR I’d say no, but with the maturity of this squad I think he can get the most out of them.

  13. Chuckles

    I’d go with a newbie as the others have to deal with a front office that hasn’t capitalized after year one. Even have regressed. Go for Tampa Bay people!

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