With major roster moves for next season coming to a halt, the Pittsburgh Penguins focus in the next couple weeks will move towards hiring a new assistant coach to replace the departed Mike Yeo.
Although the Penguins are going through the process slowly, the team is believed to have trimmed their list to 3-to-4 candidates.
They are expected to interview 2-to-3 candidates next week and a new assistant coach is expected to be hired sometime in late July.
One name at the top of the Pens’ radar is assistant coach Mike Ramsey. The team conducted a formal phone interview with Ramsey on Monday of this week, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
Ramsey fits the profile of the type of coach the Penguins are seeking; Defensive minded and ability to work with young defensemen.
Ramsey, 49, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team and played 19 seasons in the NHL, including two with the Penguins in 1992-1993 and 1993-1994.
Ramsey was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild from 2000-2010 after serving in the same capacity for the Buffalo Sabres from 1997 to 2000. He surprisingly resigned from his coaching duties with the Wild this past June.
The Penguins though may face difficulties in trying to lure Ramsey to Pittsburgh.
Indications are he wants to spend more time with his family in Minnesota, however, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with new Wild head coach Todd Richards, which some believe led to Ramsey stepping down.
Those in Minnesota say Ramsey wants to take a year off but the veteran coach is at least exploring his options.
He has also interviewed for the Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach position.
Another name believed to be on the Pens’ radar is former assistant coach Barry Smith who was apart of the Penguins coaching staff for their two Stanley Cup titles in 1991, 1992. Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, first reported earlier this week that the team interviewed Smith for the position.
Penguins to bolster scouting department with new hire
Former Florida Panthers GM Randy Sexton will be joining the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey operations staff for the 2010-2011 season.
Sexton, 50, who is one of the founders of the Ottawa Senators in the 1990’s, also later served as the Senators General Manager in the 90’s.
Sexton was the Florida Panthers assistant GM from 2007-2009. He served as the Panthers GM from 2009-2010. His contract was not renewed by Panthers ownership this off-season.
Sexton and Pens GM Ray Shero have close ties dating back to both working together with the Ottawa Senators in the 1990’s. The two hooked up a for deadline deal this past March, when the Penguins sent a 2010 second round pick to the Panthers in exchange for defenseman Jordan Leopold.