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Among Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts" this week on CBC Sports: That Todd McLellan, embattled coach of the San Jose Sharks, has already been told he'll return to coach the team in 2012-13:
Doug Wilson apparently told Todd McLellan three days after the season ended that the Sharks' bench boss was staying. Odd that there's been no announcement, but it sounds like there is a debate about assistant coaches.
McLellan would fight hard for his guys, but the discussion appears to be about adding someone who had a lengthy NHL career.
Last week, we mentioned Bryan Marchment as a possible contender. Mike Ricci might be another as both already work for the organization. Would McLellan, though, want to go "off the board" and recruit a former Red Wing?
Kevin Kurz of Sharks Insider confirms that it's "become a virtual certainty McLellan will return" to San Jose next season, and throws scout Dirk Graham's name into the hopper for a potential assistant coach.
The Sharks are expected to philosophically alter the way they approach the penalty kill, and also who handles that unit, which finished 29th in the NHL this season and was just 12-for-18 in the playoffs. Woodcroft oversaw the PK this season, but he could get reassigned to other duties within the organization. Many NHL teams employ three assistant coaches, one of which acts as an "eye in the sky" during game play.
Had the Sharks missed the playoff cut, McLellan would have been toast. That they made it — barely — means he keeps his gig. Swapping out assistant coaches is usually a harbinger of doom for a head coach — ask Ron Wilson — but in this case it could help address the PK, which was a significant point of failure for the Sharks this season.
If nothing else, the McLellan-to-Calgary talk should end.