With most of the focus currently on who will coach the Seattle Kraken, another key position still needs to be filled. The head coach of the AHL team in Palm Springs is a key position that will have an effect on the Kraken’s success in the future. They need a coach who knows how to develop young players and has some experience behind the bench. This is why Brad Lauer is the best option to coach Seattle’s AHL team.
History in the NHL
Lauer is not just a former NHL coach, but he also has experience playing in the NHL with 323 games through parts of nine seasons. The former 1985 second-round pick finished his career with 111 points, playing for the Islanders, Blackhawks, Senators and Penguins as a left winger before making the transition into coaching.
As for experience as an associate coach in the NHL, Lauer has spent nine seasons split between the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has worked with coaches like Bruce Boudreau, Randy Carlyle, Jon Cooper and Rick Bowness that have helped develop him into a good coach. The experience of playing and coaching in the NHL allows Lauer to teach players what it is like to go through those long playoff runs and how difficult the day-to-day life is in the NHL. His experience should help him with developing the next generation of Kraken in the AHL.
Recent Success in the WHL
The main reason Lauer should be considered for the head coaching job is his work in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He has been in charge of the franchise for three seasons and has a record of 103-32-19. He has led the Oil Kings to three straight Division Championships and had the best regular-season record this season, going 19-2-1. For his hard work and dedication, Lauer was named Head Coach of the Year in the WHL for 2019-2020.
During this three-year span with the Oil Kings, Lauer has helped develop some top NHL prospects, as well as some star WHL players. Dylan Guenther and Sebastian Cossa are both prospects that are expected to go in the first round at the 2021 NHL Draft, while Jake Neighbours, Matthew Robertson and Trey Fix-Wolansky are already drafted into the NHL. He knows how to get the best out of his team and understands how to coach young players, a trait that is vital in the AHL where most players are younger and looking for their opportunity to jump to the NHL.
Time in the Minor Leagues
The last argument that could benefit Lauer is his time in the AHL, IHL and the British Ice Hockey Superleague (BISL). He played in 609 IHL games throughout his career and was an associate coach in the AHL for parts of three seasons. During his time in the IHL, he was named to the First All-Star Team in 1993 and registered 548 total points. As for his one season in the BISL, he won a championship with the Sheffield Steelers. He knows how what it takes to play in the minors and the toll it takes on players.
Having that experience and knowing what it is like to ride the bus day after day would allow Lauer to help players who are having a tough time transitioning to the AHL. He understands how difficult of a league it is to play in and knows what NHL teams are looking for when it comes to who they are going to call up. The AHL can be difficult for some players, so a coach with Lauer’s experience and knowledge could benefit the team and players significantly.
A Perfect Fit
When it comes to who should be the first head coach of Palm Springs, Lauer is the best choice. If he is available, Seattle should do whatever it takes to get him to the AHL. He has experience, a winning pedigree and knows how to develop young stars. A leader on and off the ice, he should be given the opportunity to coach Seattle’s AHL team in their inaugural season.