New Atlanta Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley has a lot to handle in his new capacity, obviously. One of those new responsibilities is hiring a new head coach, after John Anderson was fired in the same maneuvering that hoisted Ramsay to the GM position on Wednesday morning.
So who could be the new coach in Atlanta? According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it could be current Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti.
Next up Dudley will hire a coach. The top contender in my opinion is Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti, who was brought into Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago because of Dudley and played for Dudley on the old ACHL Carolina Thunderbirds. Torchetti was nearly hired a few times by the old Wild regime to coach Houston. He's a former interim head coach of the Panthers and Kings.
Russo also believes that current Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay is in the hunt.
When Dudley managed Florida, Dudley fired Mike Keenan and took over behind the bench. But he tried incessantly to get Jay Feaster and the Lightning to let Ramsay come across Alligator Alley to coach the Panthers. Feaster wouldn't allow that (division rival, in the middle of the year -- were the obvious reasons), so Dudley replaced himself with Torchetti (coincidentally, that story broke while I was here in Minneapolis for the All-Star Game -- I edited pretentious clause, ha).
Of course, for either of those deals to go through, the Bruins or the Blackhawks would first have to be eliminated from the postseason. As of now, both teams have yet to play a game in the playoffs. There's no indication that the Thrashers are in a hurry to get a coach in place, but if they are, Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com believes former Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens could be available.
What about John Stevens?
“I have not received a call [from Atlanta], but I would recommend him,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said before Game 1 of the Flyers-Devils playoff series.
In a major coup within the Thrashers, general manager Don Waddell was moved upstairs to club president while associate GM Rick Dudley inherited his job. Dudley’s first move was to fire head coach John Anderson.
Stevens told CSNPhilly.com via a text message that he has not been contacted by the Thrashers. Obviously, he would have an interest.
Given the young nature of the Thrashers’ roster and Stevens’ prior success both here at the NHL level and AHL level with young teams, the Thrashers would seem an idea club to interview him.
Stevens won a Calder Cup championship with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005, actually beating Anderson's Chicago Wolves in the finals that year. He was brought up to the NHL level after proving that he could work with the Flyers' young stars, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.