It took all of minutes after Ron Hextall fired Craig Berube last week for a shortlist of desired replacement coaches to emerge.
Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Boston’s Claude Julien, and Todd McLellan (a free agent released by San Jose Monday) would be top candidates for the gig, reported CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio.
Well, the Philly rumour mill has thrown a couple more names into the mix as the Flyers try to fill their seat in this off-season’s game of musical chairs.
According to a report from NJ.com, which cites an anonymous Flyers source, Arizona’s Dave Tippett would be the most likely coach to land in Philadelphia — if he opts out of his deal with Coyotes. (Food for thought: Does Arizona’s push out of the top two in the NHL Draft — i.e., no Connor McDavid, no Jack Eichel — impact Tippett’s decision?)
The source told the outlet that the Pittsburgh Penguins have the best shot of signing Babcock should he leaves Detroit — “with Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux said to be willing to offer whatever it takes money wise as well as a GM title to go along with head coach,” writes Randy Miller.
Further, the source suggested Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne would be a darkhorse candidate for Berube’s old job.
Payne, a 44-year-old native of Kamloops, B.C., served as the St. Louis Blues head coach for 137 games before begin fired on Nov. 6, 2011 in favour of Ken Hitchcock. He went 67-55-15 during his brief tenure as bench boss and was picked up by L.A.’s Darryl Sutter as an assistant in the summer of 2012, focusing on the club’s offence and power play. He won a Stanley Cup ring with the Kings in 2014.
Hextall told Panaccio on Saturday he had yet to schedule any interviews for the coaching job and is still compiling his candidate list.
“I’m not going to go public with things either. But you’ve got to get a list together. That’s the first part of the process,” Hextall said. “It’s not done, but by the time it’s done there will be a hell of a lot [of names on the list].
“You’ve got to look at everything, and then you can narrow it down pretty quickly.”
One more name Hextall may wish to consider for the long list is Randy Carlyle.
Fired mid-season by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carlyle left the club in playoff position, but the team tumbled down the standings under interim coach Peter Horachek.
Carlyle, who has been attending Anaheim Ducks games at Honda Center, came out on the weekend and stated his desire to get back behind an NHL bench.
“I’m a coach. I want to coach. That’s what I do. Every day at four in the afternoon I have to begin fighting my wife for the remote when the games from the East come on the TV,” Carlyle told the Winnipeg Free Press. “I want to be in hockey. It’s what I do. In a lot of ways, it’s who I am.”