Hearing VAN interested in Ralph Krueger, who excelled with World Cup Team Europe. But, is there any desire to leave Southampton FC?
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 18, 2017
The Canucks search for a new head coach just got a bit more interesting.
It’s interesting to hear Ralph Kruger’s name get mentioned as the former Oilers coach has been serving as the director and the chairman of the Primer League Soccer team Southhampton F.C.
But despite Krueger’s newfound profession, it’s hard to ignore the work he’s done in his almost 20 years of hockey coaching.
For example, Krueger’s one year of NHL coaching experience was with the Oilers during the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. The Oilers finished 10 pts away from a playoff spot, and while that’s no accomplishment, it was a step in the right direction for an Oilers team that finished with the second-worst record in the entire league the year prior. Despite the progression Krueger and the Oilers displayed, Edmonton decided to dismiss Kruger, which made headlines due to the dismissal taking place over Skype.
Krueger’s latest success story was this past fall at the World Cup of Hockey. Krueger was the mastermind behind Team Europe finishing second in the tournament. Many analysts pegged Team Europe finishing near the bottom of the standings, yet Europe played spoiler throughout the tournament, which many credit Krueger for.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if someone called him,” Team Europe forward Frans Nielsen told USA today back in September. “I think they should. He showed how smart he is. He sees what kind of players and potential he has on his team and he builds his system around that. I’m sure he would play a little differently if he was coaching Canada.”
Barring any major transactions this offseason, the Canucks likely project to finish no higher or lower than they did this season. Despite this, Canucks management continues to push for instant results, rather than a patient rebuilding approach. With that in mind, if the Canucks are looking for someone that can elevate an underdog team;
Krueger could be that guy.