Although we are in the heart of the most exciting time in the National Hockey League season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are many teams who are already looking toward the future of next season and there is no team with a more vested interest in that future than the Seattle Kraken. The NHL's newest franchise will kick off its inaugural season in the 2021 - 2022 campaign and at the time of this writing they still have just about every question imaginable left to answer when it comes to how their roster will look and what personnel will oversee that roster.
One of those big questions surrounds the identity of the man, or woman, who will become the first head coach in the history of the Seattle Kraken franchise and it may have just been answered by a veteran NHL insider. In his most recent publication for the New York Post, Rangers insider Larry Brooks revealed that his sources have informed him the decision has been made and that the first coach in Seattle Kraken franchise history will be former Arizona Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet.
We were told toward the end of the week that the Seattle GM Ron Francis had decided to hire Rick Tocchet as coach, after going far down the line with David Quinn, but there is nothing official at the moment.
It's a bold choice on the part of Francis, if Brooks' sources are indeed accurate on this matter, given Tocchet's history in the league. It's true that the veteran head coach has carved out a well earned reputation for being able to deal with difficult players, most notably Phil Kessel during his time with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Arizona Coyotes, but he does also have some negative baggage as well.
Tocchet was famously convicted during the 2007 scandal that rocked the National Hockey League, also known simply as Operation Slapshot, after he pled guilty to avoid jail time and received a 2 year probationary sentence instead. At the time former New Jersey state trooper James Harney, who received a 6 year sentence, claimed that he and Tocchet were 50-50 partners in the gambling ring that led to their convictions.
Tocchet has seemingly kept his nose clean since that now infamous incident however and has demonstrated his ability to coach in numerous situations including behind the bench of the Coyotes, an impressive feat when you consider just how dysfunctional that organization has been since entering the NHL.
Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP