There was breaking news on Friday as Ken Hitchcock retired as Dallas Stars head coach. It was also announced that the 66-year-old will remain with the Stars as a consultant. No replacement has been named.
However, it did not stop NHL insider Darren Dreger to speculate on the number 1 candidate to take over the job behing the bench in Dallas. According to Dreger, the Stars are expected to contact Alain Vigneault, who was recently dismissed by the New York Rangers to take over the job with the Stars. Back when Vigneault decided to become the head coach of the Blue Shirts, the Stars had reportedly approached him to become the coach in Dallas as well.
"I know this: Before Alain Vigneault took the New York Rangers job, he was all but in with the Dallas Stars. The Dallas Stars wanted him. He was going to go to Dallas as the head coach."
"Whatever happened, maybe the Rangers came in late or he had a choice to make between Dallas and the Rangers, and obviously he chose the Rangers..." explained Dreger on the air of Buffalo's WGR 550 on Friday morning following Hitchcock's announcement, as per Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports.
While Dreger could not confirm that the Stars are actively looking to recruit Vigneault, he has a good feeling they will get in touch with him simply based on past history between the two camps.
"So I haven't got anything firm from Dallas specific to Alain Vigneault, but from a historic perspective, I would think that Alain Vigneault would be a top candidate."
Hitchcock posted a 42-32-8 record this season with the Stars, the first year of his second stint with the team. Back in 1995, the 67-year-old first became an NHL head coach with the Stars. He now sits third all-time in coaching wins and fourth in games coached in the entire league.
The Rangers made the playoffs in four of Vigneault's five seasons as coach, including a 2014 trip to the Stanley Cup Final. They went 226-147-37 in the regular season under Vigneault, who is third in regular-season and playoff wins in franchise history. However, the Rangers are entering a complete rebuilding phase, and Vigneault did not make the cut.
It now seems a great opportunity for the Stars.