The off-season coaching carousel is always worth paying attention to as bench bosses move from one team to another, from one league to the next. We are seeing more coaches with NHL backgrounds ending up in the CHL and the natural progression of CHL coaches to the AHL and on to the NHL, sometimes without that stop in between.
The latter scenario might be about to unfold again as The Pipeline Show has learned that Medicine Hat Tigers General Manager and Head Coach Willie Desjardins is a leading candidate to join the Dallas Stars organization.
Sources have indicated to The Pipeline Show that the 53-year-old native of Climax, Saskatchewan may move to the Dallas Stars in an assistant or associate coaching position.
Desjardins has been the head coach of the WHL's Tigers since the 2002-03 season and has guided the team to the playoffs every year of his tenure. Medicine Hat captured the WHL title in both 2003-04 and 2006-07 but failed to win the Memorial Cup. He was awarded the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL's best coach in 2005-06.
During his time with the Tigers, Desjardins has only once finished with a sub-.500 record and that was in his first year behind their bench.
Current NHL players who credit Desjardins with helping them reach their goal include Jofrey Lupul, Cam Barker, Clarke MacArthur, Kris Russell, Darren Helm, Derek Dorsett, David Schlemko and Tyler Ennis.
Desjardins was head coach of the Canadian entry into the 2010 World Junior Championship and finished with a silver medal. He previously won gold with Hockey Canada at the 2009 WJC under Pat Quinn. The Pipeline Show thought Desjardins might be a prime candidate for a NHL promotion to Edmonton at the start of the 2009-10 season because of his Hockey Canada success with Quinn .
According to the Medicine Hat Tigers website, "[Desjardins] has also coached professionally in Japan and served as an Assistant Coach with the Men’s National Team, winning a Spengler Cup". Since Japan has never won the Spengler Cup I have to assume that the sentence is simply poorly worded and that Desjardins' experience at the Swiss tournament was with the Canadian Men's National Team.