Flames News & Rumors: Muller, MacLean, Tkachuk & More

In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, head coach Darryl Sutter made some changes to his coaching staff as he hired Kirk Muller as an associate coach and Cail MacLean as an assistant. Meanwhile, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic got people chatting as he suggested last week that Matthew Tkachuk would love to play for the St. Louis Blues. Finally, Oliver Kylington has had a very interesting offseason so far as he is in Kenya trying to help grow the game of hockey.

Coaching Changes

On Thursday afternoon, the Flames announced some big changes to their coaching staff for next season, as both Muller and MacLean will be behind the bench in 2021-22. With these two coming in, both Martin Gelinas and Ray Edwards will no longer be assistant coaches and will instead transition to the player development side.

Muller joins the team with a very lengthy resume. The 55-year-old had a fantastic playing career, appearing in 1349 games and registering 959 points. Since playing, he has had stints with the Montreal Canadiens and the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach and was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2011-2014. He was most recently behind the bench with the Habs but was fired alongside head coach Claude Julien earlier this season.

Kirk Muller

MacLean, 44, while not being nearly as much of a household name as Muller, has also been around the game for an extremely long time. His playing career, which was mainly split between the ECHL and AHL, lasted 12 years, ending in 2008. Shortly after, he began his coaching career in the ECHL and has built his way up, spending the last three seasons as the head coach of the Stockton Heat. This promotion marks the first time as a player or a coach that he has been at the NHL level.

Tkachuk to the Blues?

Last Tuesday, Matthew Tkachuk’s name was popping up in trade rumors after Rutherford, who is a writer for the Blues, said the 23-year-old would love playing in St. Louis.

“This isn’t a situation where he’s telling people he wants out, he wants to play in St. Louis,” Rutherford said. “It’s nothing like that. But if that opportunity comes along via UFA or a trade – more likely next summer than this summer – I think he would relish it and he would love to play for the St. Louis Blues.”

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As Rutherford mentioned, Tkachuk has not requested a trade, nor is he expected to. However, it would make sense that he would love the chance to one day play in St. Louis, given the fact he grew up there and watched his dad play for the Blues for a number of years.

Kylington Spending Time in Kenya

An interesting story came out this past week that talked about Flames defenceman Kylington, along with former NHL defenceman Johnny Oduya, were recently in Kenya trying to grow the sport of hockey. The two played with locals as well as the Kenya Ice Lions, who are the only team playing organized hockey in the entire nation.

The two were not only able to play hockey with many but through the help of sponsors, were able to donate equipment to many locals. They have since returned, but plan to be back next year, this time with even more equipment and plans to play in even more games.

Oliver Kylington Calgary Flames
Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I would say it’s been the best trip of my life so far,” Kylington said. “I’m taking a lot with me. It’s been amazing. It’s so hard to put into words. For me as a grown-up now, coming back to Africa, you understand more about stuff in life. You’re seeing what people really fight for and how hockey can bring joy to them. It’s amazing and unbelievable to see that passion… just them loving the game.”