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Golden Knights Coaching Candidates With The Most To Gain/Lose

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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Golden Knights Hire Two Assistant Coaches

Before George McPhee fills up the bench with players at the Expansion Draft, Gerard Gallant has begun bringing on a few of the people who will stand behind the bench and coach the Golden Knights.

First, the obvious one, Mike Kelly. Kelly who was an assistant with Gallant in Florida, as well as in Saint John in the QMJHL, has been hired to the same position with the Golden Knights. Kelly had been Gallant’s top assistant the three seasons Gerard was with the Panthers and was always expected to have a place in Vegas once Gallant was hired.

I am very excited to be working with Mike again. We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas. -Gerard Gallant, Head Coach in Press Release

The next assistant hung up his skates to take a shot at coaching. It’s Ryan Craig, who was most recently the captain of the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Craig’s playing career spanned 14 years in the NHL and AHL. Prior to going pro, Craig played for the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons from 1997-2003. Vegas Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon drafted Craig in Brandon.

Craig played 71 games this season with the Monsters before deciding to take on the assistant coaching job in Vegas.

He is well-respected in the hockey community and has been a tremendous leader throughout his playing career, both on and off the ice. I am confident that the leadership characteristics he exuded as a player will translate well behind the bench in his new role as an assistant coach. -Gallant in Press Release

Most NHL teams have either two or three assistant coaches in addition to their head coach and goalie coach, so it’s possible one more assistant is added in the coming days. The Golden Knights goalie coach, Dave Prior, was hired eight months before Gallant.

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