Deal is Final: Arniel to Coach the Chicago Wolves

Welcome back, Scotty.

The long rumoured deal between the Vancouver Canucks and former Manitoba Moose and Columbus Blue Jackets head-coach Scott Arniel has finally been consummated this morning. Scott Arniel will join the Canucks organization, and be the head-coach of the team’s AHL affiliate the Chicago Wolves next season. Here’s the official press release introducing Scott Arniel from

Click past the jump for more.

Scott Arniel has a great deal of familiarity with the Canucks organization, having previously coached the team’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba. After Mac-T turned Vancouver’s affiliate club into a trap team, dismantled the modified Umbrella on the man-advantage, and pressured constantly on the penalty-kill (in stark contrast to Vancouver’s passive, conservative approach to killing penalties): there’s reason to believe that Arniel may install a system in Chicago that more closely resembles what Vigneault does in Vancouver. 

In addition to that familiarity, which, I’d wager is attractive to the club after they went through some growing pains adjusting to a new affiliate relationship with the Wolves, he used a pattern of deployment in Columbus that very closely mirrored Alain Vigneault’s radical zone-start manipulation. When Cam asked Vigneault over the weekend, whether or not that correlation was a coincidence, or evidence of institutional knowledge, Vancouver’s head-coach coyly responded: "I think each guy has his own mindset and really, what his team can do the best. Then you just got to put the players in situations where they can succeed." Needless to say, we don’t really believe Vigneault on this one…

Scott Arniel had limited (absolutely zero) success in Columbus, but a quick glance at the underlying numbers gives me reason to believe that Arniel’s coaching wasn’t the issue. The Wolves new head-coach has a reputation as something of a task master, who emphasizes puck possession. Jordan Schroeder once said of Arniel that when you’re playing for him, "If you don’t win your one-on-one battles, you’re in trouble." 

Generally speaking this is a good hire for the Canucks, and a good opportunity for Arniel as well. His reputation, and stock took a major hit from his Columbus misadventure, but if he can have success in Chicago, and help develop some of Vancouver’s prospects – perhaps he can get himself back onto the doppler for a job as an NHL bench boss in the near future.