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10 candidates for Avalanche coach

Capitals assistant Lane Lambert, Utica's Travis Green on list of potential replacements for Patrick Roy

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

Regardless of his reasoning, Patrick Roy put the Colorado Avalanche and many other teams in a tough spot when he abruptly resigned on Aug. 11.  

Instead of going into training camp next month with the coaching staff in place, the Avalanche are trying to find a new coach at a time when the majority of candidates they would have pursued two or three months ago have jobs.

If general manager Joe Sakic wants to interview a candidate who is an NHL assistant or a coach in the American Hockey League, he has to get permission from that coach's NHL organization. Some GMs privately have said they would have no issue granting permission because they don't want to hold a person back from pursuing a greater opportunity. Others feel it's too late to potentially lose a top assistant coach to Colorado. One GM said he'd want to know how serious a candidate his coach is before granting permission.

The Denver Post named four potential candidates to replace Roy as Avalanche coach in a report Thursday: Washington Capitals assistant coach Lane Lambert, New York Rangers associate coach Scott Arniel, Cleveland (AHL) coach Jared Bednar and Utica (AHL) coach Travis Green.

Including those four, here is an expanded list of 10 potential candidates based on information received from sources around the League:

Lane Lambert

Current job: Assistant coach, Capitals

Age: 51

Experience as NHL head coach: None

Lambert has been an assistant to Barry Trotz since 2011 and is heading into his third season in Washington. He started with Trotz when they were with the Nashville Predators.

Prior to becoming an NHL assistant, Lambert spent four seasons as coach of the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL, reaching the Calder Cup Playoffs in every season. Lambert, who played for the Quebec Nordiques in 1988-89, coached four seasons in the Western Hockey League, two with Moose Jaw as an assistant and two with Prince George as coach. 

Scott Arniel

Current job: Associate coach, Rangers

Age: 53

Experience as NHL head coach: Columbus Blue Jackets, 2010-12 (45-60-18)

Arniel joined Rangers coach Alain Vigneault in New York in 2013, running the power play and working with the forwards. He was coach of the Chicago Wolves of the AHL in the 2012-13 season.

Prior to getting the job in Columbus, Arniel was coach of Manitoba of the AHL for four seasons. He guided Manitoba to the Calder Cup Final in 2009, but lost to Hershey. Arniel was named AHL Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season.

Travis Green

Current job: Coach, Utica (AHL)

Age: 45

Experience as NHL head coach: None

Green is one of the hottest coaching prospects in North America and likely will land an NHL job in the near future. Colorado could be where he lands. The Avalanche no doubt are interested because of the success he has had in the past.

Green is 120-78-30 the past three seasons with Utica. He guided the Comets to the Calder Cup Final in 2015, losing to Manchester in five games.

Green's stature grew in the 2012-13 season when he took over for Mike Johnston as coach of Portland of the WHL and led the Winterhawks to the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champion. Portland went 37-8-2 under Green.

Green reportedly was a candidate to coach the Anaheim Ducks before they hired Randy Carlyle on June 14.

Jared Bednar

Current job: Coach, Cleveland (AHL)

Age: 44

Experience as NHL head coach: None

Bednar coached Cleveland (then called Lake Erie) to the Calder Cup championship last season and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the Avalanche's interest in Bednar on Wednesday.

Bednar was hired as an assistant for the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate in 2012 when Chris MacFarland, an assistant GM with Colorado, held the same position in Columbus. He has a .580 winning percentage in four seasons as an AHL coach and won a Kelly Cup championship in the ECHL with South Carolina. 

Bob Boughner

Current job: Assistant coach, San Jose Sharks

Age: 45

Experience as NHL head coach: None

Boughner, a former NHL defenseman, is coming off a strong first season as an NHL assistant. He coached Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League for eight seasons (2006-10, 2011-15), winning the Memorial Cup in 2009 and 2010, and was named OHL Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

Boughner worked with the Sharks defensemen and was in charge of the penalty kill. The San Jose PK improved from 78.5 percent in 2014-15 to 80.5 percent last season. The Sharks also improved in overall team defense by allowing 2.52 goals per game, down from 2.76 in 2014-15.

Boughner was teammates with Sakic in Colorado, where he finished his career by playing 52 games over two seasons (2003-06). Boughner was an assistant with the Blue Jackets in 2010-11, when MacFarland was assistant GM in Columbus.

Kevin Dineen

Current job: Assistant coach, Chicago Blackhawks

Age: 52

Experience as NHL head coach: Florida Panthers, 2011-14 (56-62-28)

Dineen is entering his third season as an assistant on coach Joel Quenneville's staff. He helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2015. He coached the Canada women's team to the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Dineen guided the Panthers to their first division title, in 2011-12, before they lost to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dineen spent six seasons and won two division titles as coach of Portland in the AHL.

Davis Payne

Current job: Assistant coach, Los Angeles Kings

Age: 45

Experience as NHL head coach: St. Louis Blues, 2010-12 (67-55-15)

Payne has been an assistant on coach Darryl Sutter's staff in Los Angeles since 2012. He helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014, capping a playoff run in which the Kings scored 3.38 goals per game. Payne has coached the Kings forwards and power play.

Prior to going to Los Angeles, Payne was coach of the Blues for parts of three seasons. He took over for Andy Murray on Jan. 2, 2010, and was replaced by current coach Ken Hitchcock 13 games into the 2011-12 season.

Payne also was a coach in the AHL and ECHL after his mostly minor league playing career ended. He played 22 games for the Boston Bruins from 1995-97.

Paul MacLean

Current job: Assistant coach, Ducks

Age: 58

Experience as NHL head coach: Ottawa Senators, 2011-15 (114-90-35)

MacLean is entering his second season as an assistant with the Ducks. He was on Bruce Boudreau's staff last season and remained when Anaheim brought back Carlyle for a second stint as its coach.

MacLean won the Jack Adams Award in the 2012-13 season after being a finalist in 2011-12, his first with Ottawa.

He helped the Senators reach the playoffs in his first two seasons, advancing to the second round in 2013. Ottawa missed the playoffs in 2013-14, and MacLean was fired 27 games into 2014-15 after an 11-11-5 start.

Prior to being Ottawa coach, MacLean won the Stanley Cup as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

Bob Hartley

Current job: None

Age: 55

Experience as NHL head coach: Avalanche, 1998-2002 (193-108-10 with 48 ties, Stanley Cup in 2001); Atlanta Thrashers, 2003-07 (136-118-24 with 13 ties); Calgary Flames, 2012-16 (134-135-25)

Hartley was fired by the Flames after last season. Calgary finished with 77 points, 20 fewer than 2014-15, when Hartley led them to the playoffs and became the first coach in Flames history to win the Jack Adams Award.

Hartley's ties to the Avalanche are obvious. He is Colorado's all-time leader with 193 wins. He won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 and led them to the Western Conference Final in 1999, 2000, and 2002.

However, Calgary's underlying stats (shot attempts percentage, shots against per game) under Hartley were similar to Colorado's under Roy, which is to say they were poor. In the past three seasons combined, Calgary was 28th in SAT percentage (46.23), and Colorado was 29th (44.74)

David Quinn

Current job: Coach, Boston University

Age: 50

Experience as NHL head coach: None

Quinn is a wild card because he'd have to give up coaching what is expected to be a strong team at BU this season. However, there are plenty of links between him and the Avalanche that make him a viable candidate if he was interested.

Quinn was an assistant in Colorado on coach Joe Sacco's staff in 2012-13, before starting at BU the following season. Quinn also was coach of Lake Erie, then Colorado's AHL affiliate, from 2009-12. In addition, Scott Young, Quinn's assistant at BU, won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996.

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