With a new general manager [Brian MacLellan] and a new coach [Barry Trotz] onboard, the next step in the Capitals’ front office rebuild will be the hiring of a new head coach for the AHL Hershey Bears and potentially new assistant coaches for the Capitals and Bears.
Throughout the next few days, Chuck Gormley will be highlighting some of the candidates for those positions, but don’t expect to see former Capitals assistants Bob Woods or Tim Hunter on either of those lists.
While Woods was a strong candidate for the Hershey Bears head coaching position, the former Capitals assistant coach was hired this week as the head coach and general manager of the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades.
Woods went 83-47-15 as head coach of the Bears from 2007-09 and led Hershey to the 2009 Calder Cup title. He then spent five seasons as an assistant coach under Bruce Boudreau with the Capitals and Anaheim Ducks (Woods was also an assistant under Boudreau with Hershey from 2005-07.
Former Saskatoon Blades Mike Green and Braden Holtby, who played under Woods in Hershey and Washington, were both contacted by the Blades’ hiring committee and endorsed their former coach.
Among the finalists for the head coaching position Woods accepted in Saskatoon was Tim Hunter, also a former assistant coach with the Capitals (1997-2002; 2012-13).
According to the Vancouver Province, Hunter is now among the favorites for the head coaching position with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. The Giants are co-owned by former NHL coach and executive Pat Quinn, who coached Hunter with the Canucks in the mid 90s.
Another former Capitals assistant coach, Dean Evason (2005-2012), has been mentioned as a possible head coaching candidate for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Evason was the Milwaukee Admirals head coach the past two seasons in the American Hockey League and led the Nashville Predators’ top minor league affiliate to an 80-52-20 record and two playoff appearances. Evason and Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis were teammates with the Hartford Whalers from 1985-1991.