It's taken a while, but on Friday morning the Stars finally announced Glen Gulutzan as their new head coach. Both he and GM Joe Nieuwendyk talked to us media dorks this morning on a conference call. There will be a larger, formal press conference on Monday morning at the AAC.
The following says a lot - Gulutzan signed a two-year deal with a team option for a third. Imagine the banks/lenders had a hand in that. Coaches usually get three or four-year deals. His team is going to have buy-in very quickly.
The hiring follows the trend of giving younger coaches from the minors a shot.
"This is the trend; Guy Boucher or Dan Bylsma," GM Joe said during the call. "The league has gotten younger, and maybe that is a factor - these coaches that are young and innovative and have a good relationship with those players.
"We have a young coach that we feel is going to be our leader. That is where is strength lies. He’s young, but he has a relationship with our guys. But they know who is going to be in charge and they are going to play for him."
Gulutzan is 39. He worked as the head coach of the Stars' top minor league team in Austin - the Texas Stars - the last two years. The team made the playoffs both seasons he was the head coach. He led them to the Calder Cup Finals in 2009-10. His record there was 87-56-17. When he coached in Vegas, he was the ECHL Coach of the Year in 2005-'06.
From a track-record standpoint, he looks very similar to Dave Tippett. Both guys paid their dues in the minors coaching before getting a shot. Tippett, however, probably had a few more responsibilities on his plate when he coached in Houston.
GM Joe wanted a coach who will put in a definitive black/white structure, and Gulutzan apparently brings that. He stresses a two-way game.
"I want structure in your defensive zone," he said. "I think the best way to describe (his hockey) philosophy is a hard, two-way game that has some tempo. That is today's hockey. You have to be able to play a little of both."
Gulutzan has some serious talent at forwards in Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow and some others. He has the goalie in Kari Lehtonen, but he needs some help on the blueline. The Stars need an upgrade there, and they need some depth ... everywhere.
Without an owner, however, they can't buy any of the above.
So Gulutzan will have to make due with what he has ... in roughly two years.
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