Coyotes goaltending director part of growing trend in NHL

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Daccord was hired Sept. 25 to fill the newly created position, which also includes a role as special assistant to general manager Bill Armstrong, hired Sept. 17.

Daccord begins the position five years after he was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the first full-time goaltending scout in the NHL. He is one of two goalie-specific members of front offices across the League to have director in his title; Mitch Korn, director of goaltending for the New York Islanders, is the other.

“For the last 25 years, I’ve been knee-deep in goaltending and I was so proud of my position in Toronto because I felt like it helped the goalie community,” Daccord said. “It was another opportunity, and much like when (then-Toronto general manager) Lou [Lamoriello] hired me to be the first full-time goalie scout in the NHL, I feel like Bill also is now taking a big step as a general manager and being innovative by saying, ‘I’m going to hire a director of goaltending operations.'”

Daccord has the resume for the position. He was goaltending coach for the Boston Bruins and Providence, their American Hockey League affiliate, from 2000-02; spent seven years in Germany’s top league as a goalie coach; has written a book on the position; and runs Stop-It Goaltending, a development company he founded in Massachusetts that trains more than 1,000 goalies at all levels each year.

Even Daccord’s family life seemingly makes him a good fit for the new role, particularly when it comes to helping goalies develop. He knows the area from watching son Joey as a standout goalie at Arizona State University, where he was the program’s first player to be selected in the NHL Draft; the Ottawa Senators chose him in the seventh round (No. 199) in the 2015 draft. His son Alex is also a goalie, playing at Saint Anselm college.

Brian Daccord (middle) with his sons Joey, left, who is a goalie prospect for the Ottawa Senators, and Alex, right, who plays for Saint Anselm College.

 

Goalie advocates are hoping this could be the start of a trend to expand resources and staffing dedicated to goaltending across the NHL.

The New Jersey Devils are using former goalies within their management team to hire goaltending coaches at the NHL and AHL level. On Sunday, general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Scott Clemmensen, New Jersey’s goaltending development coach, and Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, an executive vice president and adviser in the Devils’ hockey operations department, are working together to find candidates, and there is also a hope to add a goalie-specific scout down the road.

“I look at trying to create, over time, a goaltending department, a development department where a guy like Scott Clemmensen could head this up with the help of Marty,” Fitzgerald said. “And there’s many ways to do that.”

Other teams have expanded their goalie departments with different titles and roles in recent years.

Korn was the first to take a director title, with the Washington Capitals in 2017-18, but left for the Islanders after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup that season. He has not been replaced by Washington. Korn was hired as the director of goaltending by Lamoriello, who left Toronto for New York in 2018. Aside from his director role with the Islanders, Korn provides on-ice training to goalies throughout the organization.

The Vancouver Canucks promoted goaltending coach Dan Cloutier to director of goaltending in 2018, but he stepped down Sept. 11; the position remains vacant. The Vegas Golden Knights hired Dave Prior as a goaltending coach and director of goaltending in 2016, but he has since left the organization, and the director role is unfilled.

Former NHL goalie Vincent Reindeau was named Montreal Canadiens director of goalie development and a pro scout in 2017.

The Detroit Red Wings hired Phil Osear, who worked as a goaltending scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning, as head of goaltending scouting and development in 2019. The Lightning then hired Jared Waimon as a goaltending scout, one of about a half-dozen to hold that title in the NHL.

“There was very few (scouts) in the past five years and there seems to be more of an uptick, more of a trend now toward adding a goalie scout to staff,” said Dan Ellis, a goaltending scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. “It’s such a unique position, but when you don’t have a goalie or you don’t have goalies in the system, it’s hard to win and it’s tough to replenish that.

“So from a scouting standpoint, if you’re constantly missing out, yeah, you can get goalies via trade, but when you have homegrown talent that can sustain your team for a number of years, there’s a huge benefit to that. It helps to bring in a set of eyes that understands the position, understands the technical side, what to look for, and what to maybe even try to avoid.”

The Coyotes have filled each of the four goalie-specific jobs NHL teams have had.

Daccord joins a goaltending department that includes NHL goaltending coach Corey Schwab, goaltending development coach Zac Bierk in the AHL and dedicated goaltending scout Clay Adams. With those other positions filled, Daccord said the word operations was a key part of his new director title in Arizona.

“That was pivotal in the sense the idea is to help everything operate, not take over,” he said. “I can bring different outlooks and ideas. I look at myself as the person that’s going to help all the different people at their positions. Help the coaches, help the scout. I think my experiences and my background is going to be able to help everybody and help develop a plan.”

If it also helps more NHL teams add the role to their plans, even better.

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