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Flames coaching search ‘fast-approaching the finish line,’ Gulutzan reportedly the frontrunner

Jared Clinton
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Glen Gulutzan (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Flames coaching search ‘fast-approaching the finish line,’ Gulutzan reportedly the frontrunner

Jared Clinton
By:

The Calgary Flames have been without a coach for more than a month, but the search for a bench boss is coming to a close. GM Brad Treliving said he knows who he wants to coach the club and that it’s someone who will be both a short- and long-term fit.

With the Ducks’ coaching search over and Randy Carlyle set to step back behind the bench in Anaheim, the Calgary Flames are the only club without a bench boss for the upcoming campaign. That might not be the case much longer, however.

In speaking with Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 Monday, Flames GM Brad Treliving said the coaching search is nearing its close and that the team is “fast-approaching the finish line” in terms of naming a coach for the 2016-17 campaign. Treliving said, matter-of-factly, that he has his mind made up on who he wants to be the next coach, and added that he wanted to make sure he found someone who will be a long-term fit.

“It really wasn’t the object to get it done quickly,” Treliving said, via Sportsnet. “It’s to get somebody that’s going to fit with us for now, and really for the forseable future. This hire is one that you’re not just hiring for the next hopeful short-term. This is going to be somebody that’s going to be with us and grow with us and win with us over the long term.”

And, according to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Flames’ somebody — and the likely frontrunner for the Flames job — is Glen Gulutzan.

Gulutzan, 44, is currently an assistant with the Canucks and has spent the past three seasons in Vancouver, but he wouldn’t be jumping into a coaching position without some experience. Gulutzan has worked his way up through the coaching ranks, starting as a player-assistant with the WCHL’s Fresno Falcons, then to ECHL Las Vegas as a coach, up to the AHL with the Texas Stars before landing the NHL Stars’ coaching job in 2011.

Over his two seasons in Dallas, Gulutzan managed a decent 64-57-9 record, but the Stars missed the post-season in both of his seasons behind the bench. Following the 2012-13 season, Gulutzan was replaced by Lindy Ruff, who has led the Stars to the post-season in two of the past three campaigns. During his minor-league tenure, Gulutzan led his teams to an ECHL and AHL final.

If Gulutzan is hired, he would be a good fit in Calgary for the same reasons he was a successful coach at the minor-league level: he works well with young players. The Flames have some young, talented stars who would likely benefit from working with Gulutzan, and Gulutzan’s past definitely has some ties into Treliving’s idea of a coach who can grow with the team.

Of course, Gulutzan isn’t the only candidate for the job. Coach of the Canucks AHL affiliate, Travis Green, has also drawn some consideration for top coaching jobs around the league, and Washington Capitals assistant Todd Reirden and Chicago Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen are also in the mix, according to ESPN’s John Buccigross.

But don’t expect the announcement to take much longer, as even Treliving sounds ready to get Bob Hartley’s successor in place and prepare for the upcoming season.

“To me, we’re at the time where it’s like, ‘OK. Let’s get going now,’ ” Treliving said, via Sportsnet. “But we’ve been thorough.”

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Flames coaching search ‘fast-approaching the finish line,’ Gulutzan reportedly the frontrunner