VANCOUVER — Former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault appears to have some interesting opportunities as he pursues a new job.
Given his experience and success with the Canucks, Vigneault should get some consideration for the vacant Dallas Stars job.
Dallas has a strong core of young, emerging talent, but missed the playoffs the past two seasons under former first-time NHL coach Glen Gulutzan.
Vigneault guided the Canucks to a berth in the 2010-11 Stanley Cup finals, two Presidents trophies and six Northwest Division titles. But he got the axe after the Canucks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
In addition to the Dallas job, he could get consideration for vacancies that have yet to occur, pending the conclusion of the post-season.
Most of the opportunities appear to be with teams that toiled in the Eastern Conference this season prior to next season’s realignment. Four or five Eastern teams that missed the playoffs — including Winnipeg, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Carolina, and Florida — will likely be evaluating their coaching situations extensively. John Tortorella of the New York Rangers could also be on the hot seat because of the Rangers’ second-round struggles against Boston.
Winnipeg could be a good fit for Vigneault, because he coached Vancouver’s former top farm club for one season before moving up to the Canucks and knows the team’s owners and management.
Most teams who toiled in the Western Conference this season appear to be set.
Accordingly, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has no shortage of possible candidates as he looks to find Vancouver’s next coach.
Gillis, who has come under heavy criticism since firing Vigneault on Wednesday, must decide whether he wants someone with experience or a fresh young face.
Potential candidates mentioned publicly range from former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff to ex-Calgary and New Jersey coach Brent Sutter to former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher.
Scott Arniel, the coach of Vancouver’s AHL farm club in Chicago, appears likely to get an interview based on his lengthy ties to the Canucks.