5 potential replacements for John Tortorella in Vancouver

by May 2, 2:52 PM

Trevor Linden's ousting of one-and-done head coach John Tortorella on Thursday left a gaping hole in a Canucks franchise that looks to be entering a transitional period.

While the Canucks generally bungled the Schneider/Luongo situation (widely considered the death knell for GM Mike Gillis' time in Vancouver), and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, they still have a few key assets they can leverage into a faster rebuild.

One of the first steps Vancouver needs to take on the road back to the post-season is hiring a new bench boss, and the following coaches could be on the franchise's short list to fill the vacancy. 

Barry Trotz

Trotz was jettisoned by Nashville last month after 15 seasons behind the Predators bench. The franchise missed the playoffs for a second straight season in 2014, and they struggled both offensively (which had become the norm) and defensively (which was magnified by the injury woes of back-stopper Pekka Rinne).

Although the Preds were usually working on a shoe-sting budget, the franchise frequently overachieved during Trotz's tenure, riding a tight defensive game and solid goaltending to seven appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Todd McLellan

It may be too early to add McLellan's name to the list of possible Canucks coaching candidates considering his status as an employee of the San Jose Sharks, but the team's recent first-round meltdown could mean the 46-year-old bench boss will be hanging out on the unemployment line soon enough.

McLellan led the Sharks to playoff appearances in each of his six seasons at the helm, compiling a 271-130-57 record while making the Western Conference finals in consecutive seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Kevin Dineen

After he was fired 16 games into the 2013-14 season by the Florida Panthers following a putrid 3-9-4 start, Dineen revitalized his coaching career with the Canadian women's national ice hockey team, leading them to their fourth consecutive gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Prior to his stint with the Panthers, Dineen coached the AHL's Portland Pirates to five playoff appearances in six seasons.

Peter Laviolette

Laviolette lasted a mere three games into the 2013-14 season before the Philadelphia Flyers decided to serve him his walking papers. Prior to his firing, Laviolette led the Flyers to three playoff appearances in four years including a trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 2009-10.

The 49-year-old won a Stanley Cup in his second season behind the bench with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06, but the team struggled to recapture that magic in the following seasons, and he was let go in 2008-09.

John Stevens

Stevens, who was considered for the head coaching gig in Vancouver before the Canucks ultimately chose to roll the dice with Tortorella, is an assistant coach under Darryl Sutter with the Los Angeles Kings, following stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms (where he won a Calder Cup in 2005).

In three seasons behind the bench with the Flyers, Stevens compiled a 118-107-34 record, leading them to the playoffs twice before being fired 25 games into the 2009-10 campaign.