New Atlanta Thrashers General Manager Rick Dudley is busy reshaping his team into his own image.
Dudley has several objectives on his plate prior to the start of training camp, including hiring a new coach, preparing for the upcoming amateur draft, and re-signing several free agents.
The selection of a strong head coach is paramount for the Thrashers to have a successful season.
Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti seems to have the inside track on the Thrashers coaching vacancy; however, Dudley has also interviewed Craig Ramsey, Don Lever, and Scott Arniel.
The Thrashers received official permission from the Blackhawks to talk to Torchetti about the job and have acknowledged interviewing him, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC).
Arniel, Ramsey, and Lever are all ex-NHL players, and Torchetti has a successful record of accomplishment, having coached at the minor league level and assisted at the NHL level.
Torchetti was the coach of Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for the 2006 season. He also served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning and interim head coach for the Florida Panthers and the LA Kings.
According to Wikipedia, Torchetti’s first coaching assignment came as an assistant coach for the Greensboro Monarchs of the ECHL. His first head coaching position was with the San Antonio Iguanas, which he took over when head coach Bill Goldsworthy became ill.
He coached the Iguanas to the finals twice and in the first half of the 1996–97 season was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Dragons of the International Hockey League.
Torchetti then became head coach of the Fort Wayne Komets, where he won the Commissioner's Trophy in 1998.
Now a Blackhawks assistant coach, Torchetti could be an early beneficiary of the team’s success as Stanley Cup champions.
There is an old saying that “success has many parents, and failure is an orphan.” If that is true, then Torchetti could indeed have the inside track on the job.
The biggest difference between Torchetti and previous coach John Anderson is the major league seasoning that Torchetti has experienced.
He has made all the rounds from juniors to apprenticeships in the NHL, and has even had stints running NHL teams. Those experiences may pay off for him.
Anderson, on the other hand, seemed surprised by outside influences like contract negotiations and locker room disunity in his two-year stint as an NHL head coach.
Coaching is no easy task, and the pressure to produce in the NHL—while at the same time dealing with players' egos and other distractions—makes the job formidable to say the least.
If Torchetti is selected as head coach he will have to hit the ground running. A lot of people are banking on the Thrashers' new management and coaching staff to produce exceptional results early.