In a move many saw coming, Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks officially parted ways Monday.
His next coaching gig of course will be leading Team Canada at the world championships next month. After that? It’s anyone’s guess.
One thing is certain, though, his phone will be ringing quite frequently this summer as a number of teams looking for a new bench boss are sure to reach out.
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McLellan had been the Sharks head coach since 2008. He leaves the franchise as the all-time leader in wins (311), games coached (540) and points percentage (.637), with an overall record of 311-163-66.
With that in mind, here are four teams that should reach out to McLellan:
We still don’t know what the Oilers plan to do with Todd Nelson just yet, but it will be one of the first major decisions newly appointed CEO Bob Nicholson will have to make. Edmonton would be smart to reach out to a veteran like McLellan, especially on the heels of winning the draft lottery. If the Oilers replace Nelson it will be the team’s sixth coaching change since 2009 – yes, you read that correctly. This is a franchise with a real shot at a fresh start and McLellan could be a key piece to the puzzle.
As Sportsnet’s Mark Spector pointed out, McLellan is the perfect type of coach to lead a young Oilers squad.
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It’s no secret the Leafs have their sights set on Mike Babcock, but if that doesn’t happen McLellan is an excellent fallback. McLellan, who happened to serve under Babcock for three seasons in Detroit before joining the Sharks, could be that galvanizing voice the Maple Leafs’ locker room desperately needs. According to recent betting odds, McLellan is right behind Babcock as the favourite to land with the Leafs.
Flyers beat writer Tim Panaccio reported last week that McLellan is on the Flyers’ wish list. Philly just fired Craig Berube after a disappointing season, but unlike the Oilers and Leafs, aren’t in the midst of a complete rebuild. With a talented crop of forwards and a quality goalie in Steve Mason – when he’s healthy – the Flyers could realistically be a contender in the East next season. They just need to improve their defensive game and that’s an area McLellan can help with. Prior to the 2014-15 campaign, the Sharks were a top-10 team in terms of fewest goals allowed in each season under McLellan.
The Sabres are in rough shape at the moment, but with players like Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Evander Kane and possibly a franchise centre like Jack Eichel, there is hope. Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean said last month – prior to the Sabres firing Ted Nolan – he heard rumblings “Buffalo may make a big-time run at somebody.” McLellan would fit that mould.
Other possible landing spots: Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings