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Ben Vanderklok named new goaltending coach for Nashville, Mitch Korn not returning


Just announced moments ago via the Nashville Predators, Ben Vanderklok was tabbed as the Predators new goaltending coach. Replacing Mitch Korn, who had worked with the team for the past 16 years, Vanderklok had worked with Korn for the past five as assistant goaltending coach.

With most assuming the loss of former head coach Barry Trotz would translate into the loss of Korn as well, there will be no way to truly replace the goaltending guru. As Vanderklok has worked very closely with Korn for the last half-decade, there will be a bit of a familiar face helping to continue and train Nashville goaltending talent. Vanderklok has also worked extensively with the Milwaukee Admirals and Cincinnati Cyclones, Nashville’s AHL and ECHL affiliates respectively.

The biggest question mark, however, will be the continued development of backup goaltender Carter Hutton, who was recently re-signed. Korn’s tutelage helped lead Hutton to a 20-win season last year in lieu of an injured Pekka Rinne. While Hutton won’t have the same amount of playing time this upcoming season, barring any type of major injury to Rinne, he’ll still need to continue his development with only 41 NHL games on his resume.

From the Nashville Predators PR department:

Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has named Ben Vanderklok the team’s goaltending coach. The Welland, Ontario native has served as the organization’s assistant goaltending coach for the past five seasons.

“Ben has worked closely with all the goaltenders in our organization and has been integral in their development and success while learning from one of the best in Mitch Korn,” Poile said. “This is a natural fit to have Ben transition into the lead role, and his relationship with Pekka Rinne andCarter Hutton will make this process seamless.”

Since 2009, Vanderklok has worked nearly all the goalies within the organization, from Pekka RinneCarter HuttonAnders LindbackChris Mason and Dan Ellis at the NHL level to Jeremy Smith, Magnus Hellberg,Marek MazanecMark Dekanich and Scott Darling with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals and ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones.

His work was integral in Mazanec’s transition to North America in 2013-14, which saw him play 25 games with the Predators, becoming the youngest in club history to record a shutout on Nov. 19, 2013 at Detroit and being named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November 2013. Also last season, Darling came to the organization with one AHL game to his credit, and ended 2013-14 ranked among the league leaders in save percentage (.933), goals-against average (2.00) and shutouts (6) for the Admirals.

Poile also acknowledged Mitch Korn’s service and contributions to the franchise.

“We thank Mitch for his 16 years of work and dedication to the Nashville Predators, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” he said.

Vanderklok has also worked as goalie coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs since 2008, helping them reach the playoffs for six consecutive seasons and reach the OHL Final in 2011-12. During his first four seasons with the IceDogs, Vanderklok helped Hamilton, Ontario native Mark Visentin become a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes (27th overall), earn silver (2011) and bronze (2012) medals with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, become 2011 OHL Goaltender of the Year, and earn the 2012 Dave Pinkney Trophy as the goalie with the lowest goals-against average.

Vanderklok started his coaching career with the Port Colborne Pirates of the Golden Horseshoe Junior Hockey League (Junior B) from 2003-06 before instructing and training Brock University’s (Ontario) goalies from 2007-09. Since 2003, he has run Ben Vanderklok Goaltending, which conducts camps and clinics in the St. Catharine’s, Ontario region.

A dual Canadian-Dutch citizen, Vanderklok retired from play following four seasons (2000-04) and two league titles in 2002 and 2003 with the Amsterdam Tigers of the Netherlands Elite League. He played a pair of seasons with the OHL’s Barrie Colts from 1998-2000.”