The pull of the NHL hasn't been that strong in the west this off season. Scott Bonner and Don Hay of Vancouver both turned down job offers from the Edmonton Oilers, and it seems another WHL man is staying put instead of joining the Oil organization.
More on that in a second, but first Jim Hiller who won 47 games as head coach of the Tri City Americans last year might be in line for an assistant coaching job with the Thrashers. It was Hiller's first as head coach, he was an assistant for 2 years ending in 2004, and was the bench boss in Chilliwack from 06-08. He was let go in Chilliwack after winning just 53 games in two years with the expansion Bruins, but took Tri City to game 5 of the WHL final this year. Is he a great coach, or a good coach with great players? I guess that's what Atlanta is trying to figure out in their interview with him. The 2009-2010 Hiller coached Americans racked up the most wins in the WHL's western conference and scored the second most goals of the entire league. Their top two lines ranged from 54-83 points, but there aren't a lot of star power on the team, just a lot of really solid players. He would be joining Craig Ramsay's coaching staff along with John Torchetti as associate coach. The Americans just hired a head scout, but need to replace Terry Virtue as assistant coach, he left for Owen Sound of the OHL last week.
As for the Oilers, it appears that the Calgary Hitmen are keeping their head scout Brad Whelan. The Oilers talked to him about being an area scout. Whelen listened, but decided to stay with the Hitmen/Flames organization when offered the job. The Oilers have gone through massive changes in the last 6 months and a couple of scouting positions are still being filled. Assistant G.M., various area scouts. Whelen has been with the Hitmen since atleast 2005.
Does this say a guy would rather work in the WHL then with the Oilers, or simply that his current job as head scout is better then being in on the bottom level of a new team?