Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has hired Alain Vigneault. The contract is reported to be $5 million per season for five seasons.
Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill has stood idly by in recent days and watched two veteran NHL bench bosses be closed by other NHL teams. Three, if you include Joel Quenneville.
Though it is not official, it is believed that Todd McLellan will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Kings. McLellan met in Buffalo with Botterill late last week while in town to watch his son Tyson perform for his University at Denver squad at the NCAA Frozen Four tourney.
Today, the Flyers took Vigneault off the market with a five year contract.
Both McLellan and Botterill were considered to be on Botterill's short list of head coaching candidates to replace Phil Housley, who was fired last Sunday after two lackluster seasons behind teh Buffalo bench.
Which coaching candidates remain on Botterill's short list?
1). Rikard Grönborg
From a personal and professional standpoint, Grönborg is ready, wiling and able to make his long awaited NHL head coaching debut.
last summer, his heart was saying "yes" to the NHL while his heart was telling him no. His family needs came before all else. Grönborg's wife gave birth to a baby daughter last summer. It was importants to Rikard and his wife that the baby be born in Sweden.
He led Sweden's Tre Kronor to back-to-back IIHF Worlds Championship titles recently. He will be going for the three peat as Swedens head coach at the 2019 World Championships. Many observer, including yours truly, consider Grönborg to be the best perosn to be the first European NHL coach to be hired in over 15 years. Grönborg is a hybrid North American-European hockey mind.
Grönborg, who is currently the head coach for the Sweden men's national ice hockey team. Grönborg has coached Sabres players Alex Nylander, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Asplund, Victor Olofsson and Linus Ullmark on Sweden's U-20 World Juniors squad.
Grönborg is a loyal practitioner of the North American game of hockey. A defenseman, Grönborg played two seasons of NCAA hockey at St. Cloud State University. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He was an assistant coach with Team Sweden under head coach Pär Mårts at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In late-August 2018, it was announced he would stop coaching the Swedish national team after the 2018–2019 season. Thats when the Swedish coaching legend will become a free agent. His contract with Team Sweden expires at the conclusion of the 2019 World Championships.
It's not a question of "if" but "when" Grönborg will become a head coach in the NHL.
The Sabres will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in two regular-season games November 8-9 in Stockholm, Sweden. It will be Buffalo's first trip abroad since 2011 and a showcase for Sabres Swedes Rasmus Dahlin, Lawrence Pilut, Alex Nylander, Victor Olofsson, Linus Ullmark and Tampa's Victor Hedman, the reigning Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman and also a native of Sweden.
2). Bob Boughner
Fired by the Florida Panthers last Sunday and replaced by Joel Quenneville the next morning. In two seasons coaching the Cats, Boughner went 80-62-22 (.555 win %). Boughner was a candidate to replace Dan Bylsma in Buffalo two seasons ago. However, Housley was named Sabres head coach.
As head coach of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL), Boughner won two Memorial Cup championships, in 2009 and 2010 and won the CHL's Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award twice, in 2008 and 2009.
In June 2009, Boughner was selected by Hockey Canada to coach the National Under-18 hockey team at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament. The team went on to dominate by going undefeated and won gold at the tournament.
In June 2017, Boughner was hired as the head coach of the Florida Panthers, having served as an assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks for the previous two seasons.
3). Kevin Dineen
Dineen is an excellent mentor and a wonderful role model for young players. In 146 NHL games, all behind the bench of the Florida Panthers, Dineen was 56-62-28 (.474 win %). His Cats won the Southest Division in 2011-12. Dineen was head coach for the Portland Pirates for six seasons and qualified for the AHL playoffs five times.
Dineen was named head coach of Team Canada's women's national ice hockey team. On February 20, 2014, he led the women's squad to a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In March 2014, Dineen was named head coach of Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team for the 2014 IIHF World U18 Championships. The team finished third, winning the bronze medal.
As an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, Dineen won his first Stanley Cup on June 15, 2015. On November 6, 2018, Dineen was fired along with head coach Joel Quenneville
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4). Clark Donatelli
, whom Botterill hired, the current head coach of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Donatelli, a Boston University alum. Donatelli started his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL).
"We are extremely excited to have Alain join this franchise and lead our team behind the bench for many years to come," said Fletcher. "He brings a tremendous amount of success over an extended period of time that will prove valuable to our team to take the next steps in returning the winning culture to the Philadelphia Flyers organization."
"It is an honor to be selected as the next head coach of the Flyers," said Vigneault. "The history they have established and the passionate fan base has made this a first-class franchise. I am excited to work with Chuck, the talented group of players and prospects coming up through the system, in order to return Philadelphia to the top of the NHL landscape."
Vigneault, who turns 58 in a few weeks, has been named head coach for Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championships in Slovakia. The World Championshops will run from May 10-26. Vigneault will no doubt be campaigning for some of his new players to join him on Team Canada. Namely captain Claude Giroux and center Sean Couturier.
Vigneault spent parts of 16 years as a head coach in the NHL where he has coached over 1,200 regular season games (1,216) with a career win percentage of .588 and a 648-435-35-98 record.
In addition, he has coached in 139 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, including trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 with the Vancouver Canucks as Western Conference Champions, and again in 2014 with the New York Rangers as Eastern Conference Champions.
Vigneault-coached teams have won seven division championships and have made the playoffs 11 times, advancing past the first round on eight of those occasions.
Vigneault has produced 100-point seasons for teams in eight of the last 11 full seasons as head coach, including nine seasons of 45 wins and three seasons with 50 wins.
Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season when he led Vancouver to a 49-26-7 record and a 105 points. He has also been a finalist for the award a total of four times (1999-2000, 2006-07, 2010-11, 2014-15).
Vigneault captured the Presidents' Trophy as regular season champions three times:
2010-11 - Vancouver Canucks (54-19-9, 117 pts)
2011-12 - Vancouver Canucks (51-22-9, 111 pts)
2014-15 - New York Rangers (53-22-7, 113 pts)
His 648 wins are T-12th all-time in NHL history and 6th among active coaches in the NHL. He is the Vancouver Canucks all-time winningest coach with 313 victories.