Whether or not you agree with Alain Vigneault’s coaching style and methods, you can’t deny that he’s had success in the NHL. With his 300th career win last night, he became only the 39th coach in NHL history to reach this mark.
In his time with the Canucks, there have been numerous times that I’ve questioned his decisions. (Heck, I questioned the Ballard/Rome decision just yesterday.) But I can’t question that, somehow, some way, he’s been able to get the most out of the players that he’s had.
How many of us saw Ryan Kesler as more than a checking line center? How many of us expected Alex Burrows to magically turn into a 35-goal scorer? Or, how many coaches can turn Kyle Wellwood into a relatively reliable, even if not prototypical, third-line center?
When the 2006/2007 Canucks lacked scoring depth, they won with Luongo and Vigneault’s defense-first approach. When GM Mike Gillis started adding offensive pieces in 2008, Vigneault loosened the reins and the Canucks’ 23rd ranked offense from four years ago improved to 11th in 2008/2009 to 2nd in 2009/2010.
Say what you will about Vigneault, but at least in the regular season, he’s been able to get things done. He ranks 2nd only to Marc Crawford in regular season wins as Canucks coach.
About the only blemish on Vigneault’s resume is his playoff record where he’s never been to the third round of the playoffs, both in the NHL and AHL. Despite this, he ranks 2nd only to Pat Quinn in playoff wins as Canucks coach. But, if I may dare say it, Vigneault could pass Quinn this year if the Canucks make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.