Skip to content

Report: Evason, Berube among Sens' coaching candidates

David Berding / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Ottawa Senators general manager Steve Staios' hunt for a new head coach is starting to take shape.

The GM is building on a list of candidates that includes Toronto Marlies head coach John Gruden, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported during Thursday's edition of "Insider Trading."

"But other bigger names such as Todd McLellan, Dean Evason, Craig Berube, among others, I believe, are also on this working list," LeBrun added.

LeBrun noted that the Senators "are in no rush" to find their replacement behind the bench, though they'd "love" to have someone in place by the 2024 NHL Draft in late June.

Jacques Martin took the reins after D.J. Smith was fired in December, but the 71-year-old has expressed no interest in taking over the role on a full-time basis.

Gruden has never been a head coach at the NHL level, but he served as an assistant coach for the Boston Bruins during their Presidents' Trophy-winning campaign in 2022-23. Before that, he spent four seasons on the New York Islanders' bench.

The 53-year-old is in his first season as head coach of the Marlies, the Toronto Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate. The team has gone 30-21-9-2 under his direction.

Gruden has previous experience working with Staios and Senators owner Michael Andlauer while coaching the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs from 2016-18. They won the OHL championship together in 2018.

The other names reportedly on Staios' list so far have a wealth of NHL experience.

McLellan was fired as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in February following a concerning stretch in which they dropped 14 of 17 games. He owns an all-time record of 598-412-134 split between the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles. The 56-year-old also has 88 playoff games under his belt, and he won the Stanley Cup in 2008 as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings.

Evason spent the last five seasons as bench boss of the Wild, but Minnesota dismissed him in November after an abysmal seven-game losing streak. He guided the Wild to the playoffs four times, but they never advanced past the opening round. The 59-year-old owns a 147-77-27 record in the regular season.

The St. Louis Blues let Berube go in December after a 13-14-1 start to the season. He became their head coach in November 2018, and he helped pilot the Blues' turnaround from last place in the league to Stanley Cup champions. The 58-year-old holds an all-time record of 281-190-72 split between the Philadelphia Flyers and Blues.

The Senators are in the midst of another underwhelming campaign. Ottawa was generally expected to push for a playoff spot, but the team is toiling away near the bottom of the standings.

Staios recently acknowledged that the higher expectations were "debilitating" for his young Senators this season.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox