The Calgary Flames are one of four teams that still don’t have permanent coaches in place, but that number could change soon. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday that while the Calgary Flames say there is “no comment” on the team’s coaching situation, there is a growing belief that the Flames will hire interim coach Geoff Ward as their permanent head coach soon.
“Word is beginning to seep out that it’s trending towards Geoff Ward returning as the head coach of the team for next season,” Friedman said.
After Bill Peters resigned as head coach on Nov. 29, the team handed the interim coaching reigns to Peters’ assistant, Ward, who took a struggling 12-12-4 team (good for fifth place in the Pacific Division) and led them to a 24-15-3 record, getting them into the playoffs. They even won their play-in series, knocking out the Winnipeg Jets before getting eliminated by the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs. However, even that series, Calgary had its moments, coming within 12 seconds of taking a 3-1 series lead against Dallas.
With that success and backing from Flames players, Ward seems like a solid candidate to remain with his team especially with his focus on physicality and defense philosophy. Not only did he have success with the team, but he had quite an impact on several of the team’s players to take that next step, especially in the playoffs, including Sam Bennett, Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube.
Assuming the Flames do hire Ward on permanently, then only three other teams currently lack a permanent head coach, including the Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals and the San Jose Sharks.