In recent weeks, we’ve speculated about who the Kraken may target to be their first head coach. We now know at least one name who will be on the shortlist to be the first ever Seattle Kraken coach. According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Kraken plan to interview former Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet for their head coach position.
As Seravalli mentioned, Tocchet is the first confirmed candidate for the Kraken head coaching job. Seattle’s interest in Tocchet makes a lot of sense. Kraken General Manager Ron Francis, who has used his prior connections to make numerous hires for the Kraken so far, has known Tocchet for nearly 30 years. Tocchet and Francis were teammates for three years with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won the Stanley Cup together in 1992.Embed from Getty Images
The Kraken are not the only team with interest in Tocchet though. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the New York Rangers also plan to interview Tocchet for their head coaching vacancy.
The high level of interest in Tocchet isn’t a surprise, as Tocchet is highly respected in NHL circles. He has been praised for his superior ability to communicate with players, especially those who have been historically harder to reach. The most recent example is Phil Kessel, who with Tocchet’s help was able to rebound from his worst season in a decade and return to being a top-6 winger. Tocchet’s communication skills could be especially valuable when leading an expansion squad comprised of players from 30 different teams who have never played together before.
If Tocchet were to join the Kraken, it would be his third stint as an NHL head coach. He coached the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-2010 and the Arizona Coyotes from 2017 until the conclusion of this season, when he and the Coyotes mutually agreed to part ways. Tocchet has an all time head coaching record of 178-200-60. While Tocchet doesn’t have a winning record as an NHL head coach like other potential candidates, he never had an abundance of talent at his disposal with the Lightning or Coyotes. Tocchet’s assistant coaching record may give a better indication of what he can do under good circumstances. In Tocchet’s time as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2014-2017, The Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, Tocchet’s 1st and 2nd Stanley Cup wins as a coach.
While Tocchet is certainly a contender for the Kraken coaching job, there will surely be other names that emerge as targets for the Kraken. Gerard Gallant, Travis Green, Todd Nelson, Rikard Grönborg, and others could all be in the mix. As Seattle’s coaching search progresses over the coming month, Kraken fans will want to keep a close eye on this crucial decision for the future of the franchise.