Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said last week that he wanted to coach that could relate to the younger players, help teach them the finer points of the game and grow with them into what he hopes is a successful future.
He was not looking for a veteran coach with tons of experience. But he did want someone who had a history of teaching and getting the most of his players. That's why, probably by the end of this week, the Stars will get the contract finalized with Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
The 39-year-old was 87-56-7-10 in two seasons with the club's AHL affiliate. He took the expansion team to the Calder Cup Finals in its first year of existence and the team made the playoffs both years he coached there. He was a head coach in the ECHL (Las Vegas) for six years.
So while Gulutzan is young, he's got experience. In some ways, this hire reminds me of what the Stars did with Ken Hitchcock. He was a proven winner in the minors, but hadn't been given a shot in the NHL. That was a more veteran team than this one, but the point is that he won in the lower levels and that translated into success at the upper level.
We'll see what Gulutzan can do, but I like this choice. The Stars will still be up tempo and they'll look to score, but Gulutzan will key in on playing better defense and he'll be a teacher. That's critical to a team with good, young talent, but still relatively inexperienced.