Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he’ll keep all his options open and be patient as he begins the search for a new head coach.
“We’re going to look at every option available,” said Nill.
The Dallas GM said he won’t limit his list of candidates to those with NHL head coaching experience.
“I am going to be wide open,” said Nill. “As we’ve seen, there are some great young coaches come in and do great things with teams. I need to be wide open to that aspect.”
There’s no time frame because hockey is still being played in the NHL, minor leagues and overseas at the World Championship. But he will get the ball rolling soon.
“We have a list of names and I will start interviewing coaches over the next week to ten days and we’ll go from there,” he said. “It’s like anything in business, you’ll know when the right fit is there. We’ll start the search process and go from there.”
The Stars are in the market for a new head coach after Glen Gulutzan was dismissed after two seasons behind the bench in Dallas. Nill announced Tuesday that Gulutzan and assistant Paul Jerrard would not be back next season. Gulutzan posted a 64-57-9 (.527) record and missed the playoffs in both 2011-12 and 2012-13. Nill spent two weeks making a decision on the coaching staff, meeting with Gulutzan five or six times and talking with others in the organization.
“I’m coming from the outside. I don’t know them at all and I wanted to go through the process. I needed to get to know them,” Nill said. “Unfortunately, we are in a results-oriented business and the results haven’t been here. We just decided we had to make some changes.”
Assistant coach Curt Fraser and goaltending coach Mike Valley will remain with the team.
“Mike does a great job. I had a talk with Kari Lehtonen, he has a great relationship with him. He’s done a great job. That’s something we want to move forward with. He’s done a good job with our younger goalies,” Nill said. “I know Curt going back to the Detroit days. I have a strong rapport with him. I know he’s a real good assistant coach and I look forward to working with him down the road.”
For now, the focus is on finding a new head coach. Nill said his search will include those already within the organization. Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins will be in the mix.
“Willie is definitely going to be one of those people, but they are still playing. He’s done a great job down there, coach of the year. He’s definitely going to get consideration,” Nill said. “I think it’s important anytime you go anywhere to look internally first and he’s definitely going to be one of the people on the list.”
Nill said he’ll also gauge Fraser’s interest in the job.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Curt yet,” he said. “We haven’t discussed that. I went through this process and that will be my next step.”
Nill said there could be candidates who become available when their contracts expire at the end of this season, so while he’d like to find a new head coach sooner rather than later, he’ll do what he needs to do to find the right fit.
“The sooner the better, but the best person for the job and if that takes time then we’re going to wait and see,” Nill said. “There’s a still lot of hockey going on right now. There’s World Championships, Stanley Cup playoffs, minor leagues are still operating. We’re going to look at all situations. Some guys’ contracts might be up. We want to be open to all situations.”