BUFFALO -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Saturday there is no set date to hire a coach.
The process for hiring a replacement for Bob Hartley, who was fired May 3, is closer to the end than the beginning, but Treliving, who has been meeting with prospects during the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine, said he won't rush into anything.
"You'd like to get there sooner rather than later," he said. "I don't necessarily have a date circled on the calendar. We want to go through the process and do it right rather than do it quick. When we get through it, we get through it."
Media reports have linked the Flames to former Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan, former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo, and former Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau prior to him being hired by the Wild.
Treliving refused to identify any candidates or the number of people he has interviewed.
"We've cast a wide net," Treliving said.
He did say prior NHL experience will not be a requirement.
"It's not a mandate that you have to have NHL experience," Treliving said. "I think there's great benefit in having experience in the League, whether it's playing, coaching, assistant coach. To know how the League functions, to know the League, is a great benefit. At the end of the day we have other criteria that we feel is real valuable too. We know we're going to get a real good coach. And there's great candidates out there. To say, 'You have to have coached in the League or you're crossed off' would be incorrect."
Treliving said the Flames spent some of the time after Hartley was fired building a profile of what kind of coach was needed.
"You can run out and start talking to people, [but] what we did was spend time really drilling down in, what do we want this coach to look like, what attributes," he said. "You have a criteria of what you want it to be. We formed what we think is a profile and certain boxes they want to check.
"Today's game, you have to play fast. That's on both sides of the puck. When people say you have to play fast, they equate it to offensively. I think you have to defend fast in this League too. Everything's got to be built on playing with tempo. You don't have to be fast to pay fast. ... We've got some people that can create, we've got defensemen that can join the rush. That's definitely an area that we want to keep.
"No question playing with pace, playing with tempo, is something we want to continue to do."
Treliving also wants to see the Flames play with tighter gaps between the forwards and defensemen. That could help cut down on the League-high 3.13 goals per game they allowed this season, and help an offense that was 10th in the NHL at 2.79 goals per game.
"One area that we're trying to be is a more connected team," Treliving said. "Maybe play more as five, little tighter, play tighter, versus we were a little more of a spread offense."
Treliving said he'd have a coach in place before the start of free agency July 1, but said the process will take as long as it needs to take to find the right person.
"I'd say we're probably closer to the end than we are to the start," he said. "But I don't want to box in on timeframes. I think we're sort of narrowing it down, for sure."