If there is anyone more qualified to be the first head coach of the expansion NHL Seattle Kraken, please step forward. Gerard Gallant has proven he can take a bunch of rejects (well, not all of them) and mold them into a Stanley Cup contender. He did it in Las Vegas, and why couldn’t he duplicate that effort and expertise in Seattle?
Gerard Gallant Can do the Job
There’s no question (should there be?) that Gallant has seen success as a head coach in the NHL. His career marks of 270-216-4-51 in nine seasons of service behind the bench speaks for itself. His points percentage stands at .550. Who wouldn’t want a head coach who wins 55 percent of his games? He won the Jack Adams trophy in the 2017-18 season leading the Golden Knights to 109 points and the Western Conference crown. His only downfall may be that his playoffs record may be less than dazzling. He had a 18-15 record, which is still a .545 points percentage.
What most fans don’t know is that he was a pretty darn good hockey player in his day. In his 11 seasons as an NHL player Gallant gathered 211 goals and 269 assists with 480 points in 615 games. He added 63 power play goals and and 66 helpers. During his best season in 1988-89 with the Detroit Red Wings, he tallied 39 goals and 54 assists for 93 points in 76 games, or 1.22 points per contest. Not bad, huh?
The question will be, can he do his magic again as he did with the Vegas Golden Knights and take the newly added Seattle Kraken to the heights of NHL success? Why not? It does seem interesting that Gallant has not been hired at Washington or Calgary. Have there been discussions with Seattle’s general manager Ron Francis regarding Gallant’s interest? Perhaps. It goes without saying that the Seattle club wants to make a good impression. Whether it will be as astounding as Vegas is yet to be determined. But, who else could do that better than Gallant?
Gerard Gallant Can Help Establish Seattle Right From the Start
Gallant was instrumental in acquiring draft picks and players. That took the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their initial year. It’s not certain what else can be expected from a new head coach on a new expansion NHL team. He obviously had a coming out with Vegas management when he was unceremoniously dismissed from his duties behind the bench. Granted the team had just lost four straight games dropping them to a 24-19-6 record at time. Perhaps, the management/ownership had higher expectations. Yet, the accomplishments Gallant achieved in just two full seasons and part of another go down in the books as pretty darn good.
What Kind of Team Could Gallant Inherit?
According to one of our staff writers at Last Word on Sports-hockey division, Ayrton Bedi says Gallant could have a fairly-skilled team. Lots of things need to happen, of course. Even in net, the Kraken could have such talent as Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, or Jacob Markstrom available with such a glut of goalies looking for employment. Whether they will be as competitive as the Golden Knights were and are, is yet to be determined. It seems like a no-brainer to want Gallant. He’s done this already and probably has the insight needed to succeed.
When Gallant was let go, he had one year remaining on his four-year contract taking him through the 2020-21 season. It would not be a laborious endeavor for Ron Francis to pick that year up and still hire Gallant. Francis is an experienced, highly skilled hockey mind and knows what will be best for his new team. For anyone thinking that Gallant was fired for not being a super-human head coach, this could be his revival to show he knows how to coach… especially an expansion team.
The best part of all of this is the same rules for the expansion draft that existed when Gallant built a super competitive team in Vegas will prevail again for Seattle. Gallant must be rubbing his hands together just thinking of what players to choose and how many draft picks he and Francis can get for not choosing a player in the expansion draft. Gallant has the knowledge and experience to be a great head coach somewhere.
Why not Seattle?
Seems like a foregone conclusion that Gerard Gallant’s background is ideally fit for Seattle. Whether it happens or not is completely out of our control.