While the Rick Bowness era in Dallas officially came to a close two days ago, it could have ended far sooner. On the 32 Thoughts segment of last night’s Sportsnet broadcast of the Avalanche-Blues game, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Dallas Stars “considered a coaching change” around the All-Star break, and had “zeroed in on” former Arizona Coyotes head coach and current TNT analyst Rick Tocchet as their next bench boss. Friedman states that the two parties could not come to terms on a deal at the time, but speculates that he could be a name the team circles back to for their current vacancy.
Tocchet, 58, last coached the Arizona Coyotes in 2020-21 and has most recently been working as an analyst for Turner Sports’ NHL coverage, primarily on TNT. Tocchet also coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for two seasons from 2008-09 and 2009-10. Tocchet’s results as a head coach are mixed, with his teams only making the playoffs once, in the unique bubble situation of the 2019-20 season. But with those mixed results comes the two Stanley Cup rings Tocchet won as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and there are many coaches who have difficult early tenures only to finally figure things out in a second or third job. While Tocchet never played for the Stars during his illustrious 1144-game NHL career, it seems that he may end up there as their next head coach.
Now, for some other notes regarding the Dallas Stars:
- Another former player is, like Tocchet, on the Stars’ radar for their vacant head coaching job. Marc Savard, the rookie head coach of the Windsor Spitfires who now has his team in the semifinals of the OHL playoffs, is “on Dallas’ radar,” per Marek. Savard’s Spitfires posted a 44-17-7 record this season, and his connection to prized prospect Wyatt Johnston, who tore the OHL apart this season to the tune of 124 points, could prove useful should he choose to pursue the job.
- The Stars’ offseason is a crucial one for reasons beyond just their coaching search. Star forward Jason Robertson and goaltender Jake Oettinger, the team’s playoff hero, are out of contract and are eligible for restricted free agency. The direction the team goes in terms of their extensions could dictate what the Stars are able to do in terms of adding other players. Another crucial Star, Roope Hintz, is not out of a contract but eligible for an extension thanks to there only being one season left on his current deal. Per Marek, the Stars want to get an extension “done early” and lock up Hintz along with their other core players. Given Hintz’s play these past two seasons, the Stars’ reported desire to extend him now seems wise, because his price is likely only going up as he gets more productive seasons under his belt.