Greg Logan wrote yesterday that “it appears likely that the Islanders will add a former NHL defenseman with Islanders ties to Gordon’s staff.” You mean, all you need to qualify is NHL experience and an Islanders tie? But seriously folks…
Some possible assistant coach candidates that fit that description:
Eric Cairns (5-1): Former Islanders defenseman, now a well-regarded scout and development coach in the organization. Finished year as an assistant with Bridgeport. Popular with the team’s younger players and knows the prospects inside and out. Also knows how to maximize talents.
Dave Lewis (8-1): Would be a lovely, deserving choice. Ex-Islanders defenseman from the ’70s, head coach and assistant in Detroit. Was head coach in Boston for one season while Scott Gordon was coach in Providence. Known for being an excellent teacher and class act.
Unknown (10-1): The guy I don’t know about who was a former NHL defenseman with Islanders ties who may get the job.
Dave Baseggio (20-1): Former head coach and assistant in Bridgeport, where he worked with Bruno Gervais, Rick DiPietro, Sean Bergenheim and Trent Hunter, among others. Spent this season as a pro scout and playoffs advance scout for the Anaheim Ducks. AHL journeyman defenseman, knows Gordon. Yale graduate, tireless worker. Point Blank favorite – which makes him a longshot!
Dean Chynoweth (35-1): Former Islanders first round pick, career cut short by injuries – including having his eye gouged by classy current Tampa Bay head coach Rick Tocchet. Now a very highly-regarded GM and head coach of Swift Current in the WHL.
Ken Morrow (40-1): I’ve known Kenny long enough that it’s hard for me to picture him leaving his scouting position and his decades-long home in Kansas City – hardee-har-har – to be a full-time assistant coach. Team will still rely on his on-ice expertise when he’s in town.
Denis Potvin (200-1): Generally speaking, legendary players don’t take their first hockey ops jobs at age 55 breaking down video as assistant coaches.
Peter Laviolette (250-1): He’s a head coach now. Even when you don’t have a better offer, you don’t take a step back and accept an assistant’s job – especially when you still have two years left on your Carolina contract. (BTW, how ’bout that Paul Maurice?)
Should John Chabot not return as the other assistant, here are two names to look out for:
Jack Capuano: Bridgeport head coach is worthy, but in a Catch-22. He’s doing excellent work developing prospects, so management might not want to mess with a good thing.
Rob Murray: Gordon’s right-hand man in Providence, where Murray has just taken the Bs to the AHL conference final in his first year as head coach. Might not want to leave a head job in the A for an assistant’s job in the NHL. Might recognize that the coach and GM with the big club are tight and that Claude Julien will be in Boston for a while.