The Habs finalized their coaching staff Friday by naming former Hab J.J. Daigneault as the final assistant coach that will work with Michel Therrien. This will be his first foray into coaching at the NHL level although he has spent several seasons honing his craft in the minors. He has one year of experience at the ECHL level and has spent the past six seasons working with the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.
Daigneault started off his career with the Vancouver Canucks after being their first round pick (10th overall) in 1984. The bulk of his career, however, was spent in the Canadiens organization. Acquired for Scott Sandelin (who played all of 16 NHL games in 4 seasons after the trade), he spent a season and a half with Sherbrooke of the AHL before playing nearly 400 games with Montreal including 20 contests in their Stanley Cup run of 1993. His playing days ended in 2000-01, falling just two games short of the 1,000 plateau (including playoff contests). His final game, with Minnesota (the only time he suited up for them in his career) made him just the second player in NHL history to play for ten different National Hockey League clubs.
Daigneault was believed to actively pursue a spot with Montreal back in 2006 under former coach Guy Carbonneau. After not landing the defensive coach position with Montreal, he moved onto the Rangers’ organization. Over his years with New York’s affiliate (now known as the Connecticut Whale), Daigneault has coached numerous blueliners who have since become NHL regulars. These include Corey Potter, Daniel Girardi, Michael Sauer, Thomas Pock, Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, and Michael Del Zotto. Not surprisingly, he will be in charge of the defence on Therrien’s staff. Daigneault also have some familiarity with the new coach as they were teammates with Longeuil of the QMJHL in 1982-83.