The Flames made an important announcement today, officially hiring Ryan Huska as the coach of their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Flames.
Huska’s just 38 years old (39 next month, but boasts a resume that rivals a lot of established NHL coaches. He’s coming from the Kelowna Rockets, where he was a coach for 12 years – 5 as an assistant and then 7 as head coach. The Rockets have made the playoffs during each of his years as head coach, including winning their division three times and a WHL Championship. He was also an assistant coach for Team Canada at two World Juniors and has a silver medal (from 2011) and a bronze (from 2012) to show for it.
FlamesNation fave Mikael Backlund was on that WHL Championship team. Huska also won three Memorial Cups as a player with the Kamloops Blazers, where he played on the team with somebody named “Jarome Iginla.” (Never heard of him.)
It seems like a great hire, and Flames GM Brad Treliving raved about his abilities as a teacher when discussing the hire at the ‘Dome today. By all accounts, Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall worked on this hire.
Other quick hits from the media availability today:
- The Flames “list” is more or less set, but a lot of what they’re doing right now is preparing for scenarios. As in, if things unfold in different ways (say Florida makes a trade, or Florida picks Player X, or whatever), Treliving wants his staff to be prepared and not caught scratching their heads about what to do. He says they’ve mapped out nine different scenarios for the first four selections.
- The Flames are happy to be picking where they are: 4th overall and with 5 picks in the first three rounds. There have been discussions at potentially grabbing 4th or 5th rounders. As it stands, their staff will be sitting on their hands for roughly 90 picks.
- It’d take something really significant for Calgary to give up the 4th overall pick.
- Treliving noted that the Flames need help more or less everywhere.
- Rushan Rafikov is having visa issues but they hope he’ll be here for development camp.
- Treliving had a lot of positive things to say about Flames head scout Tod Button.
- The travel reductions in the new NHL schedule (10,000 fewer miles over the year due to elongated road trips and homestands) and the switch from Abbotsford to Adirondack will be big for the organization in terms of development and practice time. He did note that the Baby Flames will be playing in the Western Conference (so reductions may not be as dramatic as hoped in the AHL), and that the AHL schedule should be out in late July or early August.
- Treliving has no updates on the Flames many pending UFAs (Mike Cammalleri, Kevin Westgarth, Chris Butler, Chris Breen, Joey MacDonald, Derek Smith, Blair Jones and Ben Street) and RFAs (Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, T.J. Galiardi, Chad Billins, Ben Hanowski, Joni Ortio, Olivier Roy, Mark Cundari, James Martin and David Eddy). He noted he hasn’t spoken to any of them yet (in regards to Chris Butler’s status specifically). RFAs need to be qualified by next Monday, so we’ll know pretty quickly.
- Treliving expects the next week or so leading up to the draft to be busy.