Craig Conroy made headlines on Tuesday after being announced as the incoming general manager of the Calgary Flames. The former player didn’t wait to impress during his opening press conference either.
The first major decision for the new GM will be the head coach. The Flames will look to add a “players coach” in the aftermath of the Darryl Sutter era. A well-known coach fitting that description just coached in the Pacific Division: Bruce Boudreau.
Bruce! There it was…
Who is Bruce Boudreau? Most recently the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Boudreau was drug through the mud by Vancouver’s management this past season. Eventually, after a shameful public display that made his firing feel eminent for nearly months, Boudreau was let go after 46 games.
Boudreau was a fan favourite in Vancouver and in 2021–22 he turned the team around, reworking their power play and injecting life into the offence. Throughout his career, Boudreau has coached for the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks. His overall record in 1,087 games is 617–342–128 for a 62.6% point percentage.
Why should the Flames consider Boudreau?
First and foremost, personality. Boudreau is known for his player-first personality. If you’re going to look at veteran coaches that fit the archetype discussed by the Flames, Boudreau is the frontrunner by far. Boudreau is known for how well star players perform under him. Alex Ovechkin, Elias Pettersson, Nicklas Backstrom, and Ryan Getzlaf are a few notable names that had great seasons during their time with Boudreau at the helm.
The Calgary Flames have some stars that need to have major bounceback seasons in 2023–24. Adding onto that, Conroy seemingly plans to move some expiring contracts and inject youth into the lineup. A younger, faster team is right up Boudreau’s ally and fits perfectly into his offensive systems. Not to mention Boudreau is one of the best regular season coaches in the salary cap era. Jonathan Huberdeau and Boudreau would mesh well on and off the ice, and Huberdeau can be the centrepiece of the offence.
The Flames are looking to add positivity and productivity into the organization. Conroy’s off to a great start with his plans and Bruce Boudreau would be an intriguing option for the Flames at head coach. Boudreau’s known to develop young talent, and run a fast and heavily offensive game plan. It’s the literal opposite of what the 2022–23 Calgary Flames had in Darryl Sutter, and that’s exactly what the players, fans, and organization need.
Final thoughts on Boudreau
Boudreau has multiple Presidents’ Trophy-winning seasons under his belt as well as a Jack Adams Award for coach of the year back in 2007–08. However, his accolades don’t extend to the postseason unfortunately. Boudreau has been criticized for his playoff performance in his coaching career. Boudreau’s record of 43–47 in the playoffs is lacklustre and harshly contrasts his consistent regular season success.
The other downside to Boudreau’s teams of the past has been their defence. With a sustained core for the most part, the roster should still have aspects of the tight checking system and tendencies developed under Sutter. The injection of offence Boudreau brings to the game might be enough for a team that should have a strong muscle memory for defence.
Overall Boudreau would be a great fit in Calgary in my eyes and has a track record for boosting a team shortly after taking the helm. The “Bruce Boudreau Bump” might be all the Flames need to contend again next season.
Calgary Flames 2023 Head Coach Candidate Profiles
Check out individual profiles on all the potential head coaches the Flames should or shouldn’t be considering for the new job: