On Friday, the Habs added to their NHL coaching staff, announcing the hirings of Gerard Gallant and Clement Jodoin as assistant coaches to Michel Therrien. Gallant joins the club after three successful seasons as head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs while Jodoin gets promoted from Hamilton where he spent last year as head coach of the Bulldogs.
Gallant also brings some NHL coaching experience to the table. He coached the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003-2007 (one full season, two partials), however, the team failed to make the playoffs during his tenure there. In total, Columbus went 56-76-10 with him behind the bench. He also has couple of years of assistant coaching experience in the NHL having spent some time with the New York Islanders during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
His biggest coaching successes to date have come behind the bench of Saint John though. The coach of Hab prospect Nathan Beaulieu had three lengthy playoff runs in as many seasons with the Sea Dogs. He won the Ron Lapointe Trophy (QMJHL Coach of the Year award) in both 2009-10 and 2010-11 and the Brian Kilrea (CHL) Coach of the Year award in both those years as well. In 2010-11, the Sea Dogs won the QMJHL title plus the Memorial Cup while this past season winning the title in the ‘Q’ once again.
As for Jodoin, he, like Therrien, is making his return to Montreal. In fact, the now former Hamilton Bulldogs coach was an assistant to Therrien during his stint with the team; he spent five seasons in total behind the Montreal bench (1997-98 through 2000-01 and 2002-03). He also has NHL assistant coaching experience with Pittsburgh (1987-88) and Quebec (1992-93 and 1993-94).
He has spent the majority of his coaching career in the QMJHL. Jodoin has coached in Halifax (also served as GM), Lewiston, and Rimouski although his clubs were never able to win a title. That didn’t stop him from earning any accolades, however, as he twice won the Ron Lapointe Trophy (1996-97 and 2006-07) as well as the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year award in 2006-07. He also was an assistant coach with the goal medal winning Canadian World Junior team in 2008.
Jodoin spent last year with the Habs’ AHL affiliate in Hamilton. Unfortunately, a season-long rash of injuries and callups prevented the team from having any sort of success as the club followed up a season straight Western Conference Finals appearance with a 14th place finish in the West in 2011-12. Eight of his players saw action with Montreal last year.