The Coachella Valley Firebirds have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to hold that role at the AHL level. She joins Dan Bylsma’s staff after a year of coaching in Germany with the Nurnberg Ice Tigers of the DEL. Campbell also served as an assistant coach for Germany at the recent men’s IIHF World Championship and medaled for Team Canada at the women’s tournament during her playing days.
Campbell and Bylsma will take the reins of a new AHL franchise in its first year, one that still has plenty of spots to fill. Because they are so new to the league, the Seattle Kraken have yet to populate the system with many draft picks and actually have just 23 players signed to NHL contracts in the entire organization. That’s obviously not enough to give the Firebirds a fighting chance, meaning plenty of work will be needed by Ron Francis and company in the coming weeks and months.
- The Colorado Avalanche might not be looking for a new goaltender after all. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet believes that the Avalanche are working on extensions for Darcy Kuemper and Valeri Nichushkin, noting that there is a “decent chance” the netminder sticks around. If Kuemper does sign with Colorado, it would thin out a very shallow free agent goaltending pool even further, and potentially put even more pressure on the teams without legitimate starting options.
- Friedman also notes that the idea Erik Johnson could retire to create some additional cap room won’t be happening. Peter Baugh of The Athletic even asked the veteran defenseman directly, who explained that he wants to play for a “lot longer.” The Stanley Cup champion is heading into the last season of his seven-year, $42MM deal and carries a cap hit of $6MM for 2022-23.