The new generation overtaking the Carolina Hurricanes this summer now has its foreman.
Bill Peters, former Detroit Red Wings assistant, was named as the Hurricanes' next head coach on Thursday afternoon and will be officially introduced Friday.
Per Terrell Williams of the team website:
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Bill Peters has been named the team’s head coach. Peters will be the 13th man to serve as head coach for the franchise, and the fourth since the team’s arrival in North Carolina.
Peters comes to the 'Canes as a 48-year-old man—young in the coaching universe—with no professional playing experience and no NHL head coaching experience.
|Bill Peters' Coaching History|
|1999-2002||Spokane Chiefs (WHL)||Assistant Coach|
|2002-2005||University of Lethbridge||Head Coach|
|2005-2008||Spokane Chiefs (WHL)||Head Coach|
|2008-2011||Rockford IceHogs (AHL)||Head Coach|
|2011-2014||Detroit Red Wings (NHL)||Assistant Coach|
Peters' final season with Spokane jump-started the ascension of his coaching career, as the Chiefs posted a stunning 50-15-7 regular-season record en route to winning the league championship.
Alumni from that Peters-led 2007-08 Spokane squad are now dotted all around the NHL: current 'Canes forward Drayson Bowman, who led the team in scoring; Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, who scored 50 points in 2013-14; defensemen Jared Spurgeon (Wild), Jared Cowen (Senators) and Justin Falk (Rangers); 2014 Eastern Conference Final goaltender Dustin Tokarski (Canadiens).
Peters' uncanny and incredible ability to prime his players for the pros continued the next three seasons with Rockford, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
He coached seven players during that time, as noted by Williams, who went on to play significant roles in the Hawks' 2010 or 2013 Stanley Cup titles: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Antti Niemi, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy, Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith.
Despite the parent Blackhawks' continuous call-ups of star players, Peters guided one of the AHL's youngest squads to at least 38 wins all three seasons and to the playoffs on two occasions.
Said Stan Bowman, Chicago general manager, upon Peters' departure in 2011:
Bill has been a great teacher and a valuable resource in the development of our many prospects in Rockford the last three seasons. I want to thank him for his dedication to the growth of the Blackhawks organization.
In Detroit, Peters "worked mainly with the defense and penalty kill," according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
Accordingly, the Red Wings found perennial success in both regards, qualifying for the postseason every spring.
|Red Wings D/PK During Peters' Tenure|
|Season||Goals Against Rank||Penalty Kill Rank|
Peters' defensive coaching is perhaps most impressive when viewed through the lens of advanced stats.
Per ExtraSkater.com data, Detroit ranked among the top four teams in the NHL at limiting opponent shot attempts (Corsi) in all three seasons.
Peters is no doubt unseasoned.
But the Alberta native's enthusiasm and optimism have also not yet been worn down by years of surviving the NHL grind, as happened so quickly to former boss Kirk Muller.
Likely gone are the nights of somber, cliche-ridden press conferences that so plagued Muller's dismaying final campaign, and likely gone with them is the lack of conviction and determination so evident within the Hurricanes' player and coaching corps in 2013.
Peters will bring a perspective still sharp at the edges, still fueled by ambition and still conditioned by the winning legacy of the Red Wings and their 23-year playoff streak.
Peters will bring a newfound focus on defense, where nonexistent depth and poor shift management cursed the 'Canes to 19th in the league last season.
Peters will bring a youthful freshness still underlined by his reputation as a "teacher"—as noted by the News & Observer—to a club longing for change.
And he'll fit in seamlessly with the revolution of fresh faces repopulating and re-energizing the Hurricanes after seven years of tension, frustration and failure.