After firing Pete DeBoer nearly 10 days ago, the Vegas Golden Knights have begun their search for a new bench boss moving forward, and are reportedly interested in at least two head coaches for the position.
Speaking with reporters on the day he chose to relieve DeBoer of his duties, general manager Kelly McCrimmon said that he, owner Bill Foley and the rest of the management team were going to do their due diligence and were in no rush to name a replacement. According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, they have plenty of interest in both Paul Maurice and Rick Tocchet, both of whom they are hoping to speak to in the near future.
Maurice, 55, has been one of the league’s most respected head coaches for over twenty years. His 1684 career games as a head coach at the NHL level rank fourth all time, while his 775 wins rank seventh. Despite some deep playoff runs over his time, however, he has yet to win a Stanley Cup.
Maurice started the 2021-22 season behind the Winnipeg Jets bench, marking his ninth-straight season with the team. After a shaky start however, he chose to resign, saying he believed he had achieved all he could with that group of players and that they needed a new voice. It was a very unusual but very commendable move from a coach, as most would continue to try and change things until being fired. At the time of stepping down, he did mention he wasn’t sure if he would ever coach again, but the opportunity to be behind the bench for a roster as loaded as the Golden Knights may prove to be too hard to pass up.
As for Tocchet, he is well known for his lengthy playing career, one in which he displayed both skill and toughness. In 1144 NHL games he recorded an impressive 440 goals and 952 points, along with a staggering 2972 penalty minutes. He is a coach many teams have expressed interest in over the last year as he commands respect from players given the great career he had.
Since retiring as a player after the 2001-02 season, Tocchet has spent plenty of time behind the bench at the NHL level. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche in 2002, and by 2008 had his first head coaching gig with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has also been an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as a head coach with the Arizona Coyotes, a team whom he spent four seasons with from 2017-2021.
Pagnotta mentioned that while the Golden Knights are very interested in speaking with head coaches Maurice and Tocchet, there are others being discussed amongst their brass as well. From the sounds of things, however, they are interested in adding a coach with experience at the NHL level rather than bringing in someone new.
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