The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that the Thrashers are interested in talking to Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel about the head coaching job here in Atlanta. Ariel is technically employed by the Vancouver Canucks so Rick Dudley would have to get permission from them to speak to Arniel. Word on Twitter is that permission has been granted.
Arniel played 730 games in the NHL for the Jets, Sabres and Bruins and has a couple of connections to the Thrashers. Arniel played for the Sabres in 1989-90 when Dudley was the head coach and played for Dudley again in San Diego with the Gulls in 1992-93. Don Waddell was the president and GM of the Gulls at the time so he knows Arniel as well.
On top of the management connections, Arniel was the assistant coach of the Moose in 2000-2001 when Johan Hedberg was in Manitoba and it was late in that season when he got called up by the Penguins and earned his “Moose” nickname.
Arniel started his coaching career in 1995-96 as a player-coach with the IHLAero’s before becoming an assistant coach with the Moose for three seasons beginning in 2000-01. Following that he was an assistant coach for the Sabres for three seasons before returning to Manitoba as the head coach in 2006-07.
So far the only other confirmed coaching candidate for the open head coach position is Chicago Wolves coach Don Lever who led the Wolves to a 48-19-1-6 record in the regular season after taking over in late October.