Everything In Its Right Place…
Posted on August 10, 2011 by Ryan S Clark
It’s an off-season that won’t stop and on Tuesday the USHL summer claimed it’s latest “victim” in Youngstown Phantoms coach Curtis Carr.
Carr stepped down to take an assistant coaching position at Merrimack giving the USHL seven teams this summer that have had to hire head coaches. Most have the vacancies taken care of while the NTDP becomes the last team to find a new coach with training camps just around the corner.
Here’s a look back at the teams that have had to make a hire this season.
Who Left: Jon Waibel
Who Was Hired: Scott McConnell
The skinny: Waibel was fired during the season following what was easily the worst season any USHL team could have had in 2010-11. McConnell was already on staff as an assistant and was later made the team’s interim coach for the rest of the season. The interim tag was removed earlier in the off-season as the Steel look to rebound from a dismal 2010-11 season, which saw them go 9-43-8. The Steel appear to be young again with six returning players, according to the team’s Web site.
Who Left: Jason Herter
Who Was Hired: John Marks
The skinny: Herter was hired as an assistant coach at Minnesota-Duluth resulting in the Force having to hire a coach for the fourth consecutive summer. The Force turned to former North Dakota assistant and two-time ECHL champion coach John Marks to replace him. Marks inherits a team that will have 10 returning players and 11 players with USHL experience.
Green Bay Gamblers
Who Left: Eric Rud
Who Was Hired: Derek Lalonde
The skinny: Rud led Green Bay to a 41-15-4 record in his first and what turned out to be only season. Rud, a former St. Cloud State assistant, returned to his alma mater, Colorado College to be an assistant. It resulted in Green Bay having to find another coach for another summer and on Monday hired Denver assistant Derek Lalonde. Lalonde will inherit a team expected to have another good season just a year removed from winning the Clark Cup title.
Who Left: Charlie Skjodt
Who Was Hired: Kyle Wallack
The skinny: Skjodt returned to the bench in 2010 to replace Jeff Blashill, who went on to become the head coach at Western Michigan and recently took an assistant position with the Detroit Red Wings. Skjodt went back into the front office as the team hired Yale assistant Kyle Wallack. Wallack takes over a team that lost scorers like Brian Ferlin (Cornell/Boston Bruins), league leading scorer and USHL MVP Blake Coleman (Miami (Ohio)/New Jersey Devils) along with Adam Erne, who left the Ice after one season to play in The QMJHL. But he will get players such as forward Daniil Tarasov and goaltender Jon Gilles (Northeastern) to work with for the upcoming season.
Who Left: Ron Rolston
Who Was Hired: Still Vacant
The skinny: Rolston left the NTDP recently to become the head coach of the Rochester Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate. His departure comes weeks after goaltending coach Joe Exter left the team to take the same position at Ohio State. Whoever gets the job will be responsible for molding what’s considered to be America’s best talent. That means playing a USHL schedule combined with international tournaments and facing college teams for exhibitions. This year’s group of notables includes players like Jacob Trouba, Nick Kerlides and goaltender Collin Olson who will play for the U-18 Team.
Sioux City Musketeers
Who Left: Luke Strand
Who Was Hired: Brett Larson
The skinny: Strand was fired by the Musketeers, which was later filled by Larson, who was an assistant at Minnesota-Duluth. Larson’s departure oddly enough resulted in another USHL team looking for a new coach when Herter left the Force. Sioux City returns 10 players from last season’s team. The most notable being Jordan Schmaltz (North Dakota), who many are billing to be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He’ll be one of four returning defenseman Larson will have in his first season.
Who Left: Curtis Carr
Who Was Hired: Anthony Noreen
The skinny: Noreen was hired on Wednesday afternoon to take over the team. He was an assistant last season so there is familiarity. That could come in handy with what may be the hidden stat of the summer is the fact the Phantoms have 14 players returning from last season’s team, according to Pointstreak. That’s a group that includes Matthew O’ Connor (Boston University), a 6-6 goalie that can fill the net and win some games. Considering Youngstown had an up and down season, the team only finished two points out of the last playoff spot.