The Vancouver Canucks have locked in their bench for next season, announcing the hiring of Newell Brown and Nolan Baumgartner as assistant coaches.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 7, 2017
The two will join an already revamped core of mentors; Manny Malholtra and Glenn Carnegie have seen changes to their roles this spring to add additional responsibility (Malholtra is now an assistant while Carnegie is supposedly doing more under his skill coach duties), while Dan Cloutier, Doug Jarvis, and Ben Cooper remain in their usual positions to support new head coach Travis Green.
For Brown, this is a bit of a reunion, having been Vancouver’s assistant for three years between 2010/11 and 2012/13. In between tours of duty, he spent four years as an assistant in Glendale with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, and also has NHL experience with Anaheim, Columbus, and Chicago. The 55-year-old Brown has been coaching high level for most of his life now; he got his start with Michigan State University in 1987/88.
Baumgartner, who played over 1000 professional games as a player, comes to the big club after spending four years in the same role under Green with the Utica Comets. He’s actually been in the organization for a year longer, though, also holding the role in Vancouver’s last year of affiliation with the Chicago Wolves.
Hearing Vegas taking OHL Windsor's Rocky Thompson as AHL coach in Chicago. Won Memorial Cup with the Spitfires.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 7, 2017
Speaking of the Wolves and the Comets, today also brings news that Chicago have delayed Utica’s search for a new head coach by just a little bit. Rocky Thompson, who was sought by several teams to make the leap back into the pro ranks, was picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights to oversee their AHL affiliate.
Both hirings are pretty easy to get behind. While they’re hardly “shoot for the moon” acquisitions, Baumgartner is already familiar to Green and aware of his systems and executions, while Brown was around for some of the Canucks’ best years ever. Having two types of familiarity from staffers with good track records is hard to complain about at first glance.