Now that former Capitals defenseman Calle Johansson has joined Adam Oates staff as an assistant coach, who will be named as the clubs second assistant?
Oates told CSNWashington.com that hes pretty far along in the process of finding a coach who will round out his staff.
Theres been a lot happening the past couple weeks but its one of the important things right now, Oates said. Wed like to get everybody in place and talking as a staff and moving forward. I think were very close.
The list of possible candidates includes several former players who have ties to the Capitals, general manager George McPhee, Oates or, in some cases, all three. Asked if he would prefer to have another assistant coach who played alongside him, Oates indicated he would.
That would be nice, to be a former teammate and a former Cap, all of the above, he said. We have some things George wants and I want and were meeting in the middle. Were petty close and ironing out some details right now.
Oates said his assistants will have a strong say in how the Capitals play next season, much the same way Oates and Larry Robinson had a strong influence on the Devils under head coach Peter DeBoer last season.
We were all contributing to everything, Oates said. He was obviously the decision maker and is a fantastic coach, but he made us all feel that we all had a say in a lot of stuff. I obviously enjoyed that and I think our team responded to that.
So who will join Johansson as the Caps newest assistant coach?
Here's a list of possible candidates includes:
Rick TocchetAge: 48
Current position: Philadelphia Flyers television analystBackground: Tocchet is a close friend of Oates and gave him his first job as an NHL assistant when Tocchet was head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. Oates spent one season with Tocchet in Tampa before taking an assistants job in New Jersey. In parts of two seasons in Tampa, Tocchets teams went 53-69-26. A straight talker, Tocchet also worked as an assistant coach in Colorado and Phoenix.
Peter BondraAge: 44
Current position: Most recently, general manager, Slovak national teamBackground: Bondra played 14 seasons with the Capitals and is the club's all-time leading goal scorer with 472. He played six seasons with Oates in Washington but has never coached in the NHL. A regular at most Caps home games, Bondra and his family live in Riva, Md.
Ron WilsonAge: 57
Current position: Most recently, head coach of Toronto Maple Leafs
Background: Wilson was the first head coach hired by McPhee after McPhee became general manager of the Caps in 1997, which was also Oates first full season in D.C. Wilson went on to lead the Caps to their only Stanley Cup Final appearance that same season. Wilson has also coached the Ducks, Sharks and Maple Leafs, as well as two U.S. Olympic hockey teams. He has coached 1,401 NHL games with a record of 648-561-101 with 91 overtime losses.
Steve KonowalchukAge: 39
Current position: Head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds WHL
Background: A hard-working forward, Konowalchuk was a fan favorite in Washington, recording 146 goals, 196 assists and 619 penalty minutes in 693 games for the Caps. He played six seasons with Oates in Washington and after retiring as a player in 2006 he was hired by Joe Sacco as an assistant coach of the Avs for the 2009-11 seasons. He was hired as head coach of the Thunderbirds last year and went 25-45-1 in his first year behind the bench.
Tim HunterAge: 51
Current position: Most recently, assistant coach, Toronto Maple Leafs
Background: A hard-hitting right wing, Hunter played 15 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Fames in 1989. He also played for the Nordiques, Canucks and Sharks and ranks eighth on the NHLs all-time penalty list with 3,142. Hunter served five seasons as an assistant coach of the Caps from 1997-2002. He spent the next six seasons as an assistant in San Jose and three more seasons in Toronto. Most of his assistant coaching duties have come under Wilson.