13David Rittich
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Goalie coach Colin Zulianello leaves the Heat

The Calgary Flames won’t be changing any of their coaching staff after a successful 2018-19 season, but their American Hockey League affiliate is in the market for a new goalie coach. We’ve confirmed that Colin Zulianello has left the Stockton Heat after three seasons with the club.

Our pal Kevin Woodley of In Goal Magazine originally reported this back before the NHL Draft.

Originally from the Thunder Bay area in Ontario, the 40-year-old Zulianello became a coach following retirement from his playing career. He played four seasons with Colorado College, then bounced around minor pro with stops in the AHL (Springfield) and the ECHL (Mississippi, Augusta, Charlotte, Long Beach, San Diego, Idaho and Las Vegas). He coached with Lakehead University and elsewhere in his local area before joining the Heat prior to the 2016-17 season.

As goalie coach, Zulianello worked with the following nine minor league netminders:

Jon Gillies 123 51 .905 3.01
David Rittich 43 22 .914 2.53
Tyler Parsons 27 10 .890 3.85
Nick Schneider 12 6 .919 2.47
Ryan Faragher 8 4 .936 1.95
Mason McDonald 5 3 .861 3.97
Eddie Lack 5 2 .916 2.57
Tom McCollum 1 1 .950 1.50

Being a minor league goalie coach is tough, as the gig is hard to evaluate numerically; you’re primarily teaching goalies new to pro hockey how to adjust their approaches to things while they play behind defensemen who are also new to pro hockey. Stockton’s goaltending numbers have rarely been sparkling, but the Flames have also been routinely poaching the likes of Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington and Juuso Valimaki for their NHL needs. But you can’t argue with how Zulianello helped get Rittich ready for prime time.

No reason for Zulianello’s departure was provided, so we won’t speculate. Based on his website, it appears he’ll be continuing to operate his goaltending school in Ontario. While the Flames only had NHL goalie coach Jordan Sigalet tending to the netminders at development camp, it’s reasonable to presume that the Heat will likely have somebody in place for training camp in September.

  • Cfan in Van

    Although it’s relatively important to have a good one in place, the inherent difficulty in actually quantifying the output quality of a goalie coach makes me not really worry about this one. There’s not much a fan can say about whether these guys are doing a good or poor job (given the amount of factors in goalie development and results), so what’s the point of worrying about it?

  • Cheeky

    We could send them Sigalet, he actually did a good job when he was with Abbotsford, then hire a quality proven one at NHL level (yes let the trashes begin for all you Sigalet fans 😜)…

    • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

      The only under 30 goalie Sigalet has been given to work with was David Rittich whose improved substantially under Sigalet…. If you think past prime goalies who are on the tail end of their careers can be helped you’re sorely mistaken. There was no helping Mike Smith, Jonas Hiller, Brian Elliott, Karri Ramo, etc. Hahah.

      I’ve met Sigalet a few times he’s a phenomenal person and extremely knowledgeable about the goaltending position.

      • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

        Not to mention, Jon Gillies hasn’t worked out because he has a chronic hip problem that he can’t seem to shake, which is why he looks so defeated in net the past two years. Gillies was a star in the NCAA he basically single-handily won Providence a National Championship if not for hip problems (which are cancer for goalies) he’d been a starter two years ago for us.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          There is definitely something to what you are saying. He must be pissed that Calgary picked up Talbot believing this was his year. I remember when Gillies broke into the AHL he recorded 2 shutouts in 7 games. He has only had 5 since then in 134 Pro games.

      • Cheeky

        I’m sure he is a great person and very dedicated to his job, but he is also responsible for all goalies in the system, not just the over 30 yr olds. My problem with him is all our goalies (including prospects) tend to play on their knees and deep in net. That is a system implemented by the head goalie coach, your mate Siggy. If Rittich becomes something under Sig, then I will stop bashing him, but until then, all our goalies under his watch have somehow caught a bought of not-performing-well flu…

  • Budgie

    Rittich is the only Goalie to come up and play long stretches-not sure if Stockton has been a victim of poor scouting or poor coaching for Goalies-not much success with Goal-tending

  • Flaming Duck

    We should hire that kid, young adult now, who used to impersonate Kipper in the stands. The TV crews loved him. Would be an upgrade on our goalie coaches. Kid had great form.😁