The Philadelphia Flyers have named its 19th head coach in franchise history, and his name is not Mike Babcock.  Dave Hakstol will be the new face behind the Flyers bench next season.

Hakstol spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach for the University of North Dakota. He compiled a 289-143-43 overall record in 475 games. North Dakota went 29-10-3 during the 2014-15 season, and landed a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four for the seventh time in 11 seasons under Hakstol.  The seven Frozen Four berths were the most for any team in the NCAA during the last 11 seasons.

Hakstol reached the NCAA Tournament in all 11 seasons while coaching at UND. His team went 17-11 in Tournament games, and had a 54-24 overall postseason record. He is the second winningest coach in University of North Dakota program history.  He led his team to three regular season conference titles including the MacNaughton Cup in the Western Collegiate Hockey Assocation (WCHC) twice, and the Penrose Cup as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) champions in the 2014-15 season. Hakstol was an eight time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award for national coach of the year.


Dave Hakstol

While coaching the North Dakota program, Hakstol had seven players named as Hobey Baker Finalists, and 11 All-Americans. Hakstol’s program has turned out 20 NHL players and 46 of his former players have played some kind of professional hockey. While under Hakstol, UND had 42 players drafted into the NHL, including eight that went in the first round. Some of Hakstol’s former players include Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks), Matt Greene (LA Kings), T.J.Oshie (St. Louis Blues),Travis Zajac (New Jersey Devils), and Drew Stafford (Buffalo Sabres/Winnipeg Jets). He also coached forward Chris VandeVelde, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but played for the Flyers last season.

Hakstol may not have any coaching experience in the NHL, but he will be able to help develop the young defensive prospects coming up in the next few years. Ron Hextall, the Flyers general manager, went “outside-the-box” and didn’t go with the popular choice over the guy he thought was right for the job. Hextall has been preaching patience in the development of the young prospects so this move shouldn’t be a surprise.  Hakstol won’t be afraid to play any of the young kids should they make the roster.  Hextall went with a fresh face and not with the big name coach, or someone that was already in the organization, which the Flyers have been known to do.  The current Flyers’ assistants will retain their positions for now, but that could change in the future.

Will Dave Hakstol be the next great NHL coach? No one knows what the future will hold, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the NHL, and the pressure of coaching in Philly.


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