The Calgary Flames have made the expected news official, removing the interim tag from Geoff Ward’s title and naming him the 20th head coach in Flames’ franchise history.
TSN Hockey Insider Frank Seravalli first reported the news on Monday morning and his colleague Pierre LeBrun added that Ward signed a two-year deal with the club.
Eric Francis, who closely covers the Flames says of the decision: “Smart move. Well earned. His ability to empower players helped turn a lost season around and has the team pointed in a good direction.”
It will be interesting to see what he can do with a full season behind the bench… assuming the NHL has one.
Ward was named interim coach after the resignation of Bill Peters in late November. He led the Flames to a 25-15-3 record since taking over and while he made some questionable decisions, did an effective job in a tricky situation. The Flames went on to the play-in round of the 2020 postseason and defeated a very depleted Winnipeg Jets team, but ultimately were booted from the official playoffs.
Ward has also spent time as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.
What Comes Next for the Flames?
Now that the team has a head coach, it’s time to take a look at the roster and find ways of improving it. There are five different defensemen now eligible for unrestricted free agency, a need for improved goaltending, and talk that forward Johnny Gaudreau might be on the trade block.
Needless to say, the team Ward will be coaching next season could look significantly different than the one he just finished being the bench boss for.
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