NHL Rumors: Could Todd McLellan Coach the Calgary Flames?

Eric HeContributor IIMay 4, 2012

On Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks' ownership guaranteed that GM Doug Wilson would be back next season, despite the team's poor performance during the 2011-2012 playoffs that ended with a 4-1 series loss in the first round to the St. Louis Blues

However, there was no guarantee that head coach Todd McLellan—who has been widely criticized for his questionable coaching decisions—would return. After a very disappointing season, many Sharks faithful are pointing the finger at McLellan and calling for him to be fired.

So, the question is: Will Todd McLellan still be the head coach of the Sharks next season?

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun thinks that he will:

McLellan has two more years on his deal. For my money, he’s one of the better coaches in the NHL, and if the Sharks decided to part ways, he would not be out of work very long.

Which brings up an interesting point: If he is fired, where would Todd McLellan coach next?

Kevin Kurz of CSN and Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald both write that the Calgary Flames—who fired Brent Sutter last month—would be interested in McLellan.

Hall writes:

One possible candidate is Todd McLellan, head coach of the San Jose Sharks. Should GM Doug Wilson decide to go in a different direction, McLellan has family in the Calgary area and an impressive resume to boot.

So, why would McLellan be interested in coaching the Calgary Flames?

As Vicki Hall mentioned, he has family in that area. McLellan was born and raised in Melville, Saskatchewan, which is just one province away from Calgary, Alberta. 

Also, coaching in Calgary might give him a fresh start. After a tough season with San Jose, he knows that all the pressure will be on him to deliver better results—if he remains with the Sharks. In Calgary, he would have a chance to make a strong first impression.

At the very least, it would be a nice change of scenery, coaching an NHL team right next to his hometown.

This has happened before with the San Jose Sharks. In 2008, Ron Wilson was fired after failing to advance past the second round in the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Wilson ended up coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs, located right next to his hometown of Fort Erie, Ontario. 

But, it is still very early in the NHL offseason, and Flames GM Jay Feaster remarked, “We’re in the first inning of a nine-inning baseball game, if you will.”

So, don't expect a huge decision to be made yet. However, it should be interesting to see if Todd McLellan will indeed be coaching elsewhere next season.