Should the Seattle Kraken add Claude Julien to their list of candidates for their Head Coach vacancy?
We had our first big casualty of the 2020-21 NHL season earlier today when the Montreal Canadiens fired Claude Julien following back-to-back losses to the Ottawa Senators, and it could now open up another door for the Seattle Kraken as they continue their search for the first Head Coach in franchise history.
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Julien had gone 129-113-34 with the Habs and led them to an impressive 7-1-2 start in 2020-21 after Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin had completely retooled the roster during the offseason, but Montreal lost six of their last eight and were losing momentum in a very competitive North Division, leading to a parting of the ways earlier today.
It has long been the plan for Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis and his front office to potentially wait until the end of this season before picking their Head Coach to see who might become available along the way, and we mapped out here why Bruce Boudreau could be a solid hire after the former Minnesota Wild bench boss threw his hat in the ring for the Seattle job.
However, Julien’s dismissal by the Montreal Canadiens now gives the Seattle Kraken an intriguing option and it could be a situation worth keeping an eye on over the coming weeks and months with Julien unlikely to be out of work for long given his impressive resume and background.
Claude Julien could tick a lot of boxes for the Seattle Kraken
There will be some pressure on the Seattle Kraken heading into their inaugural season in 2020-21 given the success enjoyed by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the fact that they will be able to build a very, very competitive team in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft could persuade the front office to go for a tried and tested option for their Head Coach.
And there are few more experienced Head Coaches in the NHL than Claude Julien.
He’s been there, done it and has got the plethora of t-shirts in the National Hockey League, and he would be perfect for a team trying to build and craft an identity and a culture from the ground floor up. The 60-year-old has also worked with a multitude of different personalities throughout his lengthy coaching career and knows how to handle a locker room, which will come in handy given that whoever is the Head Coach of Seattle will have to mesh together a whole new roster of players and blend them together in a short amount of time.
As a result, knowing how the NHL works and how to work with players at this level will be crucial, as we saw with Gerard Gallant and the Vegas Golden Knights with Gallant able to pull together a bunch of strangers, turn them into a cohesive and winning unit and maximise every ounce of potential they had.
Whoever gets the top gig with the Kraken will have to do the same and Julien is more than qualified to do exactly that, and he would help to instil a winning mentality throughout the organization from the very get-go which is important for a franchise that will want to enjoy immediate success.
More importantly, however, is the fact that Claude Julien knows what it takes to win in the National Hockey League and that will be the most attractive quality for Ron Francis and the rest of the Seattle front office.
Ranked 13th all time in NHL history with 667 career wins, Julien led the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011 and he knows how to produce a winning lineup, he’s got a great defensive mind, his teams have generally been very good when it comes to special teams and the Kraken would certainly be a tough team to play against on a nightly basis.
Julien would also be a big hire for the Seattle Kraken and, not only would he help to excite a new fanbase that is more than ready for hockey in that area, but he would also help the franchise send a clear message that they want to be competitive in the NHL from the very first drop of the puck and want to follow the blueprint laid out by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Granted, Julien is due $5 million from the Montreal Canadiens this year so he won’t need to rush back into a job and he may decide to take some time, but we all know that coaches love to coach and if the Seattle Kraken were to reach out, then there is no doubt that Claude Julien would be interested in helping to build a winner from the ground floor up and it would be a very, very good hire for the National Hockey League’s 32nd franchise.