Despite the Calgary Flames 2023–24 NHL roster looking like it’s going to be an absolute crap shoot, the coaching staff looks to be rounding out its group of strategists.
After the hiring of Ryan Huska at the helm, and the recent departure of Mitch Love from the organization, the attention turned to just who would be platooning alongside the first time head coach.
Incoming Calgary Flames coaching staff
With lots of reports coming out during a turbulent Thursday of Flames news, here are the rumoured group set to join Huska:
Easily the most exciting addition to the Flames bench, Marc Savard makes his return to the organization that once traded him away due to his stature. Savard played parts of four seasons with the Flames from 1999–2003, before being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ruslan Zaynullin.
Savard has served as the Windsor Spitfires head coach since 2021, where he led them to the best OHL record last season, as well as spending time with the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach in 2019–20. He is rumoured to be taking over the offence and power play which will be a much needed refresh after last season’s stale take from Kirk Muller.
Savard was in the running for the head coaching position, or at least one of the names on Craig Conroy’s extensive list, so this was both a good fit and a surprise at the same time.
MacLean isn’t a new face to the organization, as he has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach under Darryl Sutter. Most of his role was singled out as being the “eye-in-the-sky” coach for the team, so time will tell if that role will bring him back to the bench or keep him where it’s familiar.
MacLean has been with the organization for a long time, where he was an assistant coach and head coach for the Stockton Heat from 2017–2021 before being promoted to the NHL.
The organization clearly values MacLean similarly to Huska, and so keeping him with the team looked to be a no-brainer.
The final new name joining the Flames bench is Dan Lambert, who most recently was an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators since 2019. His coaching history is vast, taking him from the WHL to the AHL, and a previous stint with the Buffalo Sabres in 2015–16 as an assistant.
He is most likely getting this nod as he was an assistant coach under Ryan Huska when they worked together on the Kelowna Rockets. Familiarity was most likely key for Huska as he takes on his first NHL coaching gig.
Assumption would be that Lambert will handle the defence and penalty kill, but with Huska having a particular set of skills in that area I am sure it will be a joint effort.
More to come for Calgary
In other moves, Jason LaBarbera looks to be staying on as goaltending coach, while Kirk Muller is departing the organization. That gives the team three assistants, which matches the same structure as last season.
It would be surprising to see another name be added as things would get too crowded, but you still get the sense that down the road Alex Tanguay may be joining the fold to reunite with his old teammates.
Now the question becomes just who the heck will these guys be coaching?