Claude Julien was fired yesterday morning by the Boston Bruins. Claude Julien owns the Bruins records for most wins in franchise history, with a respectable record of 538-332-10-117. He spent the last 10 seasons at the helm of the Bruins and he brought them to their first Stanley Cup Championship since 1972 in 2011 when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Why is that important to you, as a Vegas Golden Knights fan? It is of note because he’s one of the most qualified candidates available for the job and George McPhee’s Knights have to consider someone with his resume for the franchise’s first-ever head coach role.
Claude Julien is Teeming with Experience
With Claude’s experience in Boston and Montreal, he’s faced challenges on righting the ship with rabid fan bases. Perhaps after acting as the sacrificial lamb in Boston for his roster’s shortcomings, he’s prepared to consider a role from another perspective. Having the opportunity to be the first head coach ever in a franchise’s history is something that doesn’t come along every day. McPhee has expressed his desire to leave his mark as one of the founding management members of the Knights, and the same appeal has to be present for Claude and any other prospective head coach.
The Golden Knights Role Will Not Be One Without Its Challenges
Claude Julien has faced adversity in his final three seasons as the bench boss of the Black and Gold. The last two years the Bruins have narrowly missed making the postseason and his core remained largely the same. The media began to turn against him, craving a change, while ownership demanded a playoff berth. Claude will be faced with another lineup dilemma should he accept a role with the Golden Knights, and it won’t be entirely unlike his experience with the Boston Bruins. He won’t have a high-end roster nor the prospect cupboard brimming with talent like some of the NHL perennial bottom-feeders.
Julien’s saving grace for his candidacy and ability to distinguish himself from others, except maybe for Hitchcock should he be interested, is his penchant for strong two-way defensive hockey. For a middle of the road roster in regards to skill, the coaching staff will have to squeeze every bit of effort and defensive awareness out of their roster if they expect to contend for a playoff spot in season one. The Bruins were underdogs in 2011 and scratched and clawed their way into winning. Claude Julien is a premier coach and could be a stellar fit for the Golden Knights.
One thing is for sure – McPhee and the Knights have done the right thing by biding their time and waiting until closer to the 2017-18 season as more fantastic coaching candidates arise. Hitchcock, Julien, Gallant, qualified NCAA and OHL coaches, the list goes on and on. It’ll just be hard saying no to a modern era Stanley Cup winner when it comes time to choose a coach to lead the Knights into battle.