The NHL head coaching market has been an intriguing storyline this off-season. With big names like Bruce Cassidy, John Tortorella, and Barry Trotz off the board, teams are beginning to narrow down their searches. Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Mike Vellucci could be closing in on one of the remaining positions.
Vellucci has spent two years as a Penguins assistant coach after being promoted from Wilkes-Barre before the 2020-21 season. After previously being tied to the Philadelphia Flyers position, recently filled by Tortorella, Vellucci is now considered a finalist for the Boston Bruins head coaching job. The Bruins fired Jack Adams Award-winning coach Bruce Cassidy following their first-round playoff exit to the Carolina Hurricanes.
According to Frank Seravalli of the DailyFaceoff, this was Vellucci's second interview with the Bruins making him one of three potential finalists, including David Quinn and Jay Leach.
While Vellucci has no prior experience as a head coach at the NHL level, he spent 13 seasons as the bench boss for the Plymouth Whalers of the Canadian Hockey League. He also spent multiple years leading the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.
Vellucci currently coaches the Penguins forwards as well as their penalty kill. The Penguin's penalty kill finished last season as the third best in the NHL with a success rate of 84.4 percent. There were extended periods throughout the season that the Penguins led in that category with over a 90 percent success rate.
With only the Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings jobs remaining, this could be Vellucci's final chance to snag a head coaching job this off-season.
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