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.
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.