We built a real in-depth profile and started going through the process. As you went through it, it became very clear meeting with Glen early that this was a perfect match. - Brad Treliving
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames ended an exhausting coach search by hiring Glen Gulutzan on Friday.
Nearly seven weeks after firing Bob Hartley, Flames general manager Brad Treliving introduced Gulutzan as Calgary's coach at a press conference at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flames fired Hartley on May 3; the hiring of Gulutzan filled the last coaching vacancy in the NHL.
"We went through a real thorough process in this search," Treliving said. "This is an important person we need to bring into our organization. We spent the first while building a profile. 'What is it we're looking for in a coach? What's the best fit?' You talk about who the best coach is for a particular team, what kind of coach was our team ready for? We went through a lot of those attributes before we got into the field and the market and talking to people.
"We built a real in-depth profile and started going through the process. As you went through it, it became very clear meeting with Glen early that this was a perfect match."
Gulutzan, 44, spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks. He coached the Dallas Stars from 2011-13, going 64-57-9 in two seasons but failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He coached the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League from 2009-11, losing in the Calder Cup Finals in 2011.
Gulutzan also coached Las Vegas of the ECHL for six seasons, from 2003-09. Las Vegas was the ECHL affiliate of the Flames during that time.
"What a whirlwind here," Gulutzan said. "It's an honour to be the head coach of the Calgary Flames.
"I started back here in this organization. When Darryl [Sutter] was running it I was in Las Vegas and it was one of the first calls I made, was to try to get an affiliation. I was there through that '04 run right behind the Flames … but I was in Las Vegas. I watched [Mark Giordano] and [Deryk Engelland] and [Dennis Wideman] at rookie development camp here, all as free agents. I got my foot in the door here back then.
"I never thought at some point that I would be coaching this team. It's quite an honor to be standing up here and be the coach of such a distinguished franchise."
The Flames (35-40-7) finished with 77 points this season, 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. They allowed 257 non-shootout goals, the most in the League.
Calgary's penalty kill was last in the NHL at 75.5 percent, and the power play (17.0 percent) ranked 22nd.
"There will definitely be a little bit of a style change in how we play," Gulutzan said. "It will lead to an exciting game. It'll be an exciting, connected team that you're going to see here.
"What we want to be is a real connected group here. We want to be connected in fives in all three zones. We want to defend fast; we are going to defend fast. We are going to utilize the assets we have here. For me the trend is how quickly we can transition from offence to defence, how much we can stay connected so we can hold onto the puck but still play fast, and how quickly we can get it back and utilize the strengths of the players that we have here. The only way you can play that way is to stay connected as a group."
"This is an individual who is smart," Treliving said. "He's intelligent about the game, tactically, structurally. The interpersonal skills is what jumped out to me … his ability to communicate to people, his ability to drive players, and ultimately at the end of the day from my perspectives, to maximize the ability each player has, the team has. That's the most important quality for a coach.
"As we did our homework, the one thing that kept coming back … we talked to all sorts of people that were around Glen in certain areas at certain times of his life, at certain stops, and it was not only the coach but the person who was drilled home. A very special person; a very special coach."