Report: Willie Desjardins expected to become Canucks’ next coach

Willie Desjardins has never been an NHL head coach, but he spent two seasons with the Dallas Stars as an assistant.

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The NHL head coaching vacancies count will be down to two if the Vancouver Canucks follow through on hiring Willie Desjardins.

TSN reports that if all goes well during Desjardins’ weekend meeting with the team, he will be introduced as coach next week and replace John Tortorella, who was fired after just one season.

Desjardins helped lead the AHL’s Texas Stars to the Calder Cup title this past season, which has apparently made him an attractive NHL coaching candidate. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Penguins had interest in hiring Desjardins to replace Dan Bylsma.

Desjardins has coaching experience at the NHL level, having spent two seasons with the Dallas Stars. He even won a WHL title as coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2004 and 2007.

Vancouver finished 12th in the 14-team Western Conference last season, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. 

The Florida Panthers and the aforementioned Penguins are the other franchises still looking to fill head coaching positions.