Canucks say farewell to Glen Gulutzan, hired by Flames

The Vancouver Canucks saw Glen Gulutzan oversee special teams for the club for three seasons – but all good things must come to an end, and he’s headed to Calgary now. 

It was reported on Friday morning that the Flames were making it official; after a week of rumors, the Pacific Division club announced Glen Gulutzan as the team’s new head coach for the upcoming 2016-17 season. He’ll take over following a less-than-ideal year under head coach Bob Hartley, who had taken home the Jack Adams award the year prior. 

The Canucks first saw Gulutzan arrive during John Tortorella’s short (and not so sweet) tenure with Vancouver, back during the 2013-14 season. Coming off his first – and only – NHL stint with the Dallas Stars, Gulutzan was brought in to run the power play under Tortorella. 

While he failed to adequately fill that role, though, Gulutzan was moved to the penalty kill the following season, under new head coach Willie Desjardins. In that role, he thrived considerably more so than he did while working with the players on the man advantage; as the Flames have struggled immensely whilst a man down in recent years, the team likely hopes Gulutzan’s systems will help them improve over the next few years. 

What do the Canucks lose?

It’s hard to tell. 

Gulutzan has never really been put in a position where he can succeed at the NHL level, and he wasn’t given much time to do so in Dallas. His numbers there were mixed – his possession impact mediocre, but the players moving up in production as they developed under him – and although it’s understandable that new ownership cleaned house when they came in, it didn’t give us much to work with in terms of reviewable data at the NHL level. 

Then, in Vancouver, Canucks fans have been rather disenchanted with both Tortorella and Desjardins – and general manager Jim Benning (whether at the request of team ownership or due to his own blunders) has given the team’s coaching staff an increasingly difficult roster to work with in each of the years Gulutzan has been on board. 

It’s hard to tell, exactly, whether or not Gulutzan was helping keep the team above water or if he was part of the reason they were drowning. 

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His work on the penalty kill looked good, though, and he’s been touted as one of the smarter coaches around the NHL circuit. He’s also considered widely popular by the players, and has plenty of good things to say that make him an attractive coaching candidate for a team looking to bring on a clear-cut philosophy.

So, even though it’s not a devastating loss for the Canucks – and one that’s still relatively hard to measure – it’s still a loss, and one that could become more apparent as the new season gets under way. 

Speculation aside, though, we wish Gulutzan all the best in Calgary. Just as long, you know, as his team doesn’t outperform Vancouver’s. 

  • Kobra

    He seemed like a decent fella……but, our special teams has been horrendous under Glen. I am looking forward to whoever takes over his position.

    It’s too bad we can’t give Calgary Weisbroad back with him.

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      “our special teams has been horrendous under Glen”

      not really to defend the guy, but our pp hasn’t been very good for a long time, our pk has been a bit hit and miss over the last few seasons.

      is it the coaching or the personnel?

      • crofton

        Define ” a long time” If you mean 3 seasons? Cuz in 2010/11, Canucks were 1st in PP, 3rd in PK. In 2011/12 they were 4th and 6th. In 2012/13 they slipped to 23rd and 8th. In 21013/14 they were 27th and 9th. In 2014/15 they rebounded to 9th and 2nd. And of course, last season it was 28th and 18th.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I like the idea of bringing Green up to replace Guluztan. People say it would create a poisonous environment for Dejardins, having his backup there.

    My argument to that is that teams like to create competition between players so that the players play their best, so there ought to be competition between coaches to, so they perform their best.

    So you don’t get a Torts situation where he is walking his dog instead of running practices.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    “The Vancouver Canucks saw Glen Gulutzan oversee special teams for the club for three seasons – but all good things must come to an end, and he’s headed to Calgary now.”

    Sure, nice guy but what was good about his time here? We didn’t do very well. If he really was helping that much here in Vancouver, then the Canucks will really, really be horrible next year, and I don’t think a team could be much worse than they were in 2015/2016 (they were worst in goal differential I think).

    Hoping he brings his expertise in failure to the Flames.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    With the Ducks and Flames filling their coaching vacancies, it looks like the Canucks will have another year to see what they have in Green.

    So good news.

  • crofton

    So the slide started after 2011 run… and we had the same personnel, from then until now, just not the coaching?

    Do you think special teams would have performed any better with a different special teams coach?

  • wojohowitz

    Gulutzan seems to be a blank slate. Nice guy? Now there`s a recommendation that shows how clueless the media is. He thanked Trevor, Jim and Mike Gillis so I guess Willie is the enemy from here on in. He`s licking his chops on that one. I think Calgary has blundered badly. Gulutzan has the elevator pitch down pat and that`s how he got the job just like he got the other jobs but he`s is totally out of his depth as a head coach. Maybe another five years as an assistant and he might be ready but not now.

    It will be interesting to see what he perceives to be the Canucks weaknesses, like when Sutter down in LA tells his team to be very physical for the first five minutes and the Canucks will fold like a cheap suit.

    • wojohowitz

      Whatever you might think of Gulutzan as an assistant (and the results on the special teams wouldn’t recommend him to me) I think you shouldn’t underestimate his attractiveness to other teams. He’s an experienced ECHL and AHL head coach and has led pretty successful franchises in both — he’s been a head coach (with WD as an associate) in Dallas at a very young age, now he gets another chance. I think people are really underestimating this hire. I’d be far happier in Calgary with this hire than if I was Anaheim — not even half a clue what they are thinking in rehiring Carlyle.

      • wojohowitz

        I don’t know what to think of Carlyle. He has a cup, can’t be all that bad.

        I usually subscribe to the Leaf hate or apathy, but before Carlyle was fired they were in a playoff spot.

        I wish Gulutzan all the best, unless the Flames are playing against the Canucks.