Prospect Ramblings – Offseason AHL Coaching Changes

Hayden Soboleski

2016-07-10

Looking at new bench bosses around the AHL in this Sunday's Ramblings…

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If you check out our home page you'll see that DobberProspects has been very busy pounding out quality team content this month with the 30-in-30 series. Between those team-specific updates and your regular Ramblings rotation I think everyone should be as up-to-date as they need to be on the state of their team and prospects (especially after next month's 30-in-30 series which will look at the immediate and long-term fantasy outlook of each franchise). So so for my Sunday Ramblings I wanted to take a look at a topic that often slips through thte cracks – AHL coaching changes. AHL coaching staff have an enormous influence on the prospects developing on the roster, from aiding on-ice performance to establishing an appropriate culture around the rink. The following additions have been made around the league so far this off-season:

 

Tuscon Roadrunners (ARI):

The new franchise started from the ground up, and selected Mark Lamb as head coach. Lamb has coached in the WHL for the last seven seasons, making the playoffs four times but never cracking through the first round. Before that, he was an Assistant Coach in the NHL for seven years, one in Edmonton and six in Dallas under Dave Tippett (current coach of the Coyotes – this is starting to make alot of sense). You can bet Arizona GM Chayka did his homework on this hire, as the analytics guru would've been absolutely sure to pick someone who understands his vision for the club. In various interviews Chakya has emphasized his desire for Lamb to take the team to the next level of comeptitiveness, while establishing an integration between the NHL and AHL systems, aloowing players to learn in one league and be able to apply their skills in the other. Mark Hardy was named Assistant coach of the Roadrunners, and he also brings a wealth of experience to the bench. Hardy has a combined 10 years of NHL coaching experience between the Kings and the Blackhawks. he also has AHL coaching experience with the Chicago Wolves

 

Iowa Wild (MIN):

Derek Lalonde has been named as the new boss in Iowa, coming off two very successful season as head coach in the ECHL. In his first year taking over in Toledo, he set a record for the biggest improvement in one year – 58 poi He has experience as an assistant and head coach for the Team USA Junior U-19 squad, where he has two gold medals. There will be a fair amount of turnover on the Iowa team this off-season, so bringing in a coach with proven ability to turn players into a cohesive winning group is probably a good move. He has less experience at this level than many of his peers, but sometimes you have to gamble on young coaches to end up with gems.

 

San Antonio Rampage (COL):

As the Avs writer here on DobberProspects, I've had a fair amount to say about the Rampage. The team was not cometitive last season, which ended with a mass exodus of fringe talent who never took the big step and some unkind words spoken by former players about the (now) former coach. The lack of team focus was critisized, along with the lack of focus on development, and the result of many players losing their confidence on and off the ice. As a result – the old guard has changed and Eric Veilleux has been brought in to be head coach. He has an excellent record as head coach in the QMJHL (which Colorado keeps strong ties to), and has served as Assistant Coach in the AHL and Head Coach in th ECHL (both with the Norfolk Admirals pre- and post-reallignment). Given the circumstances of the coaching change, its safe to say more focus will be applied on developing the players the Avs assign to the AHL – which should be a much stronger group of young prospects than has served in recent years. This is therefore good news for owners of Avs prospects.

 

Charlotte Checkers (CAR):

Big changes here, as both head and assistant coaches left the organization entirely. GM Ron Francis's good friend Ulf Samuelsson will take over as head coach, and Peter Anderssen wil become assistant coach. Samuelsson has 8 years of NHL coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach for the New York Ran