Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has become the cradle of coaches. With only a few exceptions, those lucky enough to become the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate in WBS have become head coaches in the NHL including current Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan. Count new WBS Penguins boss Mike Vellucci as one who wants his chance in the NHL, too.
Last Thursday, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford also gave GM duties to Vellucci after the Minnesota Wild tabbed former Penguins AGM Bill Guerin to be their new GM in mid-August.
The list of men who have ascended from the Penguins’ AHL club to become NHL bench bosses includes Michael Therrien, Dan Bylsma, and Sullivan who climbed the internal ladder to coach the Penguins. Todd Richards, Todd Reirden who is the current Washington Capitals head coach, and John Hynes who leads New Jersey are the others to claim a big job.
Vellucci does not see himself in the mold of WBS GMs who have also earned NHL jobs such as Guerin and Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill. Vellucci’s desire is to coach, and his goal is the NHL.