A little more than two weeks after the Dallas Stars hired new general manager Jim Nill, the organization has decided to go in another direction in the head coaching department.
Nill announced Tuesday that Glen Gulutzan will not be re-signed as the Stars’ head coach.
“Things have to change here because it hasn’t been right,” Nill said. “There has been some great things here, but we’re in the business to win here.”
Gulutzan, 41, was the 21st head coach in franchise history and led the club to a 42-35-5 record in 2011-12 and a mark of 22-22-4 in the shortened 2013 campaign, but he failed to reach the playoffs both years, extending the Stars’ playoff drought to five consecutive seasons.
Nill kept his wish list for the next head coach close to the vest but said he will remain wide open to potential options, including coaches and veteran players with little to no NHL coaching experience.
“Working in the minor leagues, you get to see some of these young guys. And they come in as no-names, but when they get to the NHL, they are the real deal,” Nill said.
But Nill said he could wait out the remainder of the playoffs to do his due diligence on coaches who have expiring contracts.
No interim head coach has been named yet, but high on Nill’s list is Texas Stars head coach and AHL Coach of the Year Willie Desjardins.
“Willie is definitely going be one of those people, but they’re still playing,” Nill said. “He’s done a great job down there — coach of the year. He’s definitely going to get consideration. I think it’s important to look internal first, and he’s definitely one of the people on my list.”
The Stars also relieved assistant coach Paul Jerrard of his duties Tuesday but chose to keep assistants Curt Fraser and goalie coach Mike Valley. Valley’s close connection with Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen and his work with the organization’s young keepers helped solidify his retention.
“I had a good talk with Kari Lehtonen, and he has a great relationship with [Valley] and he’s done a great job,” Nill said.
Nill said he will begin the interview process over the next week to 10 days, but he is in no rush to make a hire.
“There’s no hurry,” Nill said. “The sooner the better, but we want the best person for the job, and if that takes time, we’re going to wait.”