The Calgary Flames have added an experienced name to the bench for next season, hiring Kirk Muller as an associate coach. Cail MacLean, who served as head coach of the Stockton Heat for the past three seasons, will also be joining the Flames as an assistant. Muller was let go earlier this season by the Montreal Canadiens when the team parted ways with Claude Julien, but didn’t take long to find his next NHL stop. Ray Edwards and Martin Gelinas will not be returning as assistant coaches but are not leaving the organization. Instead, they’ll transfer to the player development department for the Flames.
Muller, 55, has a long history in the NHL, going back to his selection second overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1984. He played parts of 19 seasons in the NHL, suiting up for 1,349 regular season games and taking home the Stanley Cup in 1993. As a coach, he joined the Canadiens for the first time in 2006 before taking a head coaching job with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2011. He went exactly .500 during his three-year tenure with the Hurricanes, before going to St. Louis and then back to Montreal. Though he doesn’t have a ton of head coaching experience, the Flames may well see him as a replacement for Darryl Sutter in a few years.
MacLean meanwhile is getting his first taste of the NHL at age-44 but is an up-and-coming head coaching prospect in his own right. The former minor league player has been in charge of ECHL and AHL teams previously, taking the slow necessary steps to establish himself as a future NHL head coach. During his time with the Heat, they posted a 72-65-16 record.