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Two candidates that should be included in Nashville’s head coaching search


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While the Predators are in the process of finding only their second head coach in franchise history, many have already laid out the supposed favorites to end up in Nashville. Ranging from Peter Laviolette to Phil Housley, the candidates are many and varied. However, what about coaches that aren’t being discussed as much as others? We bring you two candidates that aren’t being wildly talked about, but should be potential candidates for Nashville’s open head coaching position:

John Stevens

1) John Stevens, Assistant Coach – L.A. Kings

John Stevens has a resume that is more extensive than some current head coaches in the NHL. Another former-player-turned-coach, Stevens compiled 10 assists and 48 penalty minutes in 53 career NHL games while contributing 21 goals, 167 assists, and 1397 penalty minutes in 834 career AHL games, winning three Calder Cups along the way. Forced to retire in 1999 due to a career-ending eye injury, Stevens served as Assistant Coach of the Philadelphia Phantom before becoming their head coach in 2000. In his six seasons with the Phantoms, he took the team to four playoffs and won a Calder Cup in 2005. Stevens was then hired on as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006 after Ken Hitchcock was fired, guiding them to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2007-2008. Fired by the Flyers on December 4th, 2009, Stevens has since been with the Los Angeles Kings, helping them to their first franchise Stanley Cup in 2011-2012.

Why he could be Nashville’s new head coach:

Stevens’ is just as impressive, or more, as other candidates for Nashville’s head coaching job. Seemingly delivering nothing but success in his tenures with each team he’s been involved with, he’s won four Calder Cups (three as a player, one as a coach) and a Stanley Cup (as assistant coach for the Kings).

The Los Angeles Kings website boasts Stevens as being the face behind their stingy penalty kill, saying he has “helped direct the Kings to the NHL’s fourth best penalty killing mark each of the past two seasons (87 percent last year and 85.5 percent in 2010-11).”

A finalist in the past for the Canucks coaching job, and seemingly already being looked at again by Vancouver with their recent job opening, Stevens could be a “diamond in the rough” waiting to be claimed.

Photo courtesy of Guelph Storm

2) Scott Walker, Owner/Head Coach – Guelph Storm

Former longtime Nashville Predators forward Scott Walker has had a very active coaching career already since his December 2010 retirement as a player. A member of the Predators from the franchise’s first season in 1998 through the 2005-2006 season, Walker played 410 games with Nashville and recorded 96 goals, 151 assists, and 465 penalty minutes with the team. Two days after announcing his retirement, Walker was hired on as the coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm where he’s compiled an 141-79-18 regular season record (52-12-4 this season) with the Storm along with a 18-15 record in the postseason (currently 13-3 this postseason). Walker’s Storm are currently in the OHL Finals this season competing against North Bay Battalion.

Why he could be Nashville’s new head coach:

Walker has helped the Storm through a bit of a rebuilding phase since being hired. He’s taken the team to the postseason in all four of his seasons coaching the team and has seen has record do nothing but improve in each of the three full seasons he’s been behind the bench, including taking his team this year to the OHL Finals for the first time in a decade.

No doubt drawing his coaching experience from his time playing under Mike Keenan, Barry Trotz, Peter Laviolette, and Paul Maurice, Walker’s a known commodity by the Predators and is active in Nashville’s Alumni Association.

He was a fan-favorite during his playing career in Nashville and I venture to guess he would maintain that persona if hired on.