GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sean Burke has wanted a significant management role since he joined the Coyotes organization in 2009 as its goaltending coach. He may get that opportunity somewhere else this offseason.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney recently granted Burke permission to talk to other clubs about management positions, Burke confirmed on Sunday. Burke said he already spoke to seven or eight teams and plans to talk to a few more.
Burke is in the final year of his contract with the Coyotes as assistant to the GM and goaltending coach. In his first season on the job, he helped get Ilya Bryzgalov’s game on track. Bryzgalov posted a .920 save percentage and 2.29 goals-against average that season as the Coyotes allowed the fewest goals in the Western Conference.
Burke helped Mike Smith revive his career in 2011-12 and spearhead the Coyotes’ run to the Western Conference Final. Earlier this season, he helped Devan Dubnyk rediscover his game before Dubnyk was traded at midseason. One season after losing his starting job in Edmonton, getting traded twice and ending up in the minor leagues, Dubnyk is third in goals-against average (2.12), tied for fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.927) and tied for seventh in wins (31) for Minnesota, which is arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
"I don’t have some secret formula that these guys couldn’t learn from somebody else," said Burke in downplaying his role. "It’s just about instilling confidence in them. Duby just needed someone to believe in him again."
"The second half of that is just putting the work in for these guys, and I like working."
Burke didn’t want to speculate on what will happen this offseason, but it is highly unlikely he will return to the organization next season, leaving Smith with a new goalie coach.
"I’ve really enjoyed the coaching and it has been rewarding, but I never went into this to coach. I wanted to manage from the moment I retired," he said. "Coaching is good because it gives you an additional avenue of experience, being in that dressing room every day, but when you stay in that role too long, it becomes more difficult to get where you want to go.
"Having said that, I have strong opinions and strong feelings about this franchise. I played here, too so it’s personal for me. I really enjoy it here, and I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given."