Since leading Team Europe to a second place finish at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Ralph Krueger’s name has come up every time a coaching vacancy appears in the NHL. That has happened once again, as Darren Dreger of TSN reported on Insider Trading last night that Krueger is interested in returning to the NHL but “only if the fit is right.” It’s not clear what kind of fit that would be, but there’s obviously still interest in bringing him back overseas.
Krueger, 59, last coached in the NHL during the 2012-13 season when he served as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, but is currently serving as chairman of the Southampton Football Club in the English Premier League. Krueger has repeatedly said in the past that he is happy in the role he now occupies, but almost yearly around this time his name surfaces as a potential candidate.
There’s good reason for that interest from teams around the league. Players rave about working under Krueger despite his relative lack of experience at the NHL level, and he is credited with being a huge driving force behind the development of Swiss hockey. As head coach of the Swiss National team for more than a decade, he prepared his clubs spectacularly for matches that they were regularly outclassed in, often playing spoiler to some of the more traditional hockey powerhouses.
With the NHL season coming close to an end there will surely be some more coaching vacancies that open over the next few weeks and months. Already there are roles open in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Ottawa and Edmonton (as long as Ken Hitchcock doesn’t return), while other coaches like Scott Gordon and Craig Berube are technically still under interim labels.