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[Signing] Canucks Name Manny Malhotra AHL Head Coach

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Edit: already posted in Canucks Talk section. Apologies.


Canucks Name Manny Malhotra AHL Head Coach


May 24th, 2024 at 5:32pm CST • By Gabriel Foley


The Vancouver Canucks have named Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Manny Malhotraas the next head coach of the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. Malhotra replaces Jeremy Colliton, who served in two seasons with Abbotsford, leading the team to two identical seasons – two 40-25-7 records and first-round exits. Abbotsford associate coach Gary Agnew will also be stepping away from the club after three seasons (Twitter link).


Malhotra’s experience in the NHL kicked off with his seventh-overall selection by the New York Rangers in the 1998 NHL Draft – a part of a top 15 that also featured Vincent Lecavalier, David Legwand, and Alex Tanguay. Malhotra would go on to play in 991 career games across 18 seasons and seven teams. He spent three-or-more seasons with four different teams, including the Vancouver Canucks, who he appeared in 159 games with between 2010 and 2013. Malhotra was never a strong scorer, with a measly career-high of 35 points posted in the 2008-09 campaign, but his intangibles are what made him distinct. He was a defensive specialist and boasted a dazzling 59.7 percent on faceoffs in the final eight years of his career – dating back to when the stat was first tracked.


Teams were eager to bring those traits behind the bench when Malhotra announced his retirement in the 2015-16 season. He didn’t wait long to kick off his coaching career as a result, joining Vancouver as an assistant coach in the 2017-18 season. He’d stay in Vancouver until 2020 when he moved east to join Toronto. Malhotra will now assume an Abbotsford lineup full of potential, largely thanks to the trio of top prospects Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Aatu Raty, and Danila Klimovich. Vancouver has made it clear that they want to offer the chance for prospects to crack the NHL lineup next season, though it will be Malhotra in charge of developing the ones who don’t make it.


Meanwhile, former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Colliton is back on the market after a pair of seasons in the minor leagues. Colliton became the youngest head coach since 1995 when he took over the Blackhawks in 2018, at the precise age of 33 years and 299 days. He was highly praised at the time, but quickly lost steam after totaling a 86-83-24 record over three seasons in Chicago. He hasn’t returned to an NHL role since, though that could be poised to change soon, with San Jose reportedly already engaging the AHL bench-leader. He becomes one of many coaches looking for new roles – joining a list of free agents now headlined by Todd McLellan, Dean Evason, and Jay Woodcroft.



Edited by RWJC
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