Cassidy could fill assistant hole

The Boston Bruins have a vacancy on Claude Julien’s coaching staff, and it’s a possibility the organization could decide to promote Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.

Cassidy, 49, has been with the organization since 2008 as an assistant coach for the P-Bruins. He was named head coach in Providence for the 2011-2012 season and he’s played a significant role helping the Bruins develop their young talent.

“Bruce has done a terrific job,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “Frankly, I was surprised I didn’t get any calls [from other organizations] on him after the year. We’re happy to have him in our organization. The vacant spot will be filled at some point in the near future and he’s certainly under consideration. He’s at a level where what he does down there right now is so important and it may be that the significance of that position right now, in the realm of our organization is more important for him to stay there. I’ve had talks with Bruce about this position and Claude will have talks with him about this position and we’ll see where he fits in all this.”

Cassidy also served as the head coach for the Washington Capitals from 2002-2004.

The assistant’s job in Boston became available when Geoff Ward resigned last week. He will now serve as head coach of the Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. Ward spent seven seasons on Julien’s coaching staff, including the 2011 Stanley Cup championship season.

“Geoff had some good success with us. He had an opportunity to be a head coach and we weren’t going to stand in his way,” Chiarelli said. “I was really impressed with the way Geoff looked at the game, how he broke it down and they had really good chemistry in that coaching group. Mannheim’s getting a good coach and coaching’s all about opportunity and Geoff wanted to be a head coach and this was a good opportunity and I’m happy to see him get that, too.”

In May, Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning resigned and was hired as the new GM for the Vancouver Canucks. On Monday, Chiarelli talked for the first time since Benning left the organization after eight seasons with the Bruins.

“Jim was here from the beginning and he was one of the guys at my side in managing and building and drafting and all that stuff and a good friend, too,” Chiarelli said. “He’s moved on to Vancouver and deservedly so. He gives a really good viewpoint of the players of our team and of other teams that’s very instructive to me and helps us with decision-making. He’s been in hockey a long time and he deserved this posting and I’m very happy for him. He’ll be missed but we’ll be able to replace that position.”