The Seattle Kraken will have a new figure behind the bench for the upcoming 2024-25 NHL season. Whoever it is will be the second head coach in franchise history. Shortly after the most recent season concluded, which saw the Kraken unable to build on last season's incredible playoff run, general manager Ron Francis decided to terminate Dave Hakstol, who was hired as the team's first coach in 2021 for their inaugural campaign as the NHL's 32nd franchise.

There are several ideal candidates that Francis could consider for the job. However, one notable name has just been taken off the list of available coaches, as Craig Berube has officially been hired as the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kraken GM Ron Francis pushed back on reports of players demanding Hakstol's firing 

Francis was sure to push back on various reports that a handful of unnamed players allegedly issued an ultimatum to management that Hakstol be fired or they'd seek a trade elsewhere, per Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.

“Zero players issued any ultimatums of any kind regarding the coach — that I can assure you,” Francis said. “That’s not what those meetings are really about. Usually, it’s us telling players what they have to do to prepare for next season, or how we thought they did this season. No one sits there asking them ‘What did you think of the coach?’ That’s not what these meetings are there for.”

It's a direct contradiction to the words of ESPN's Emily Kaplan, who reported the alleged demands of the Kraken players.

“I was told, at the exit meeting with players, there was a handful of players — and pretty significant players — who made it clear to management that ‘I don’t want to play on this team in the future if Dave Hakstol is still the coach.’ And that forced them to make a change.”

With that being said, let's take a look at the most ideal candidates that the Kraken could consider now that Berube is officially off the market.

Current Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour

The first and most obvious candidate the Kraken ought to consider is Rod Brind'Amour, the current head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Earlier this season, reports surfaced that the Hurricanes and Brind'Amour were not any closer to a contract extension, and the team reportedly even withdrew a contract offer.

Brind'Amour is a former teammate of Francis with the Hurricanes, and the pair helped lead the team on a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2002.

Currently, Brind'Amour has indicated that he feels confident a new contract will be worked out to keep him behind the Hurricanes bench long-term. However, until that happens, there will be plenty of speculation that Francis could target his former Hurricanes teammate to relocate to the Pacific Northwest.

Former Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan

Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan looks on during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

An experienced bench boss, now-former Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan was fired earlier this season after GM Rob Blake felt that he wasn't getting the most out of the Kings roster.

The coaching journey for McLellan in the NHL began as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings in 2005, a role he served for three seasons that culminated in the 2008 Stanley Cup under head coach Mike Babcock. McLellan then earned a major promotion when he was hired as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, a role that he served in until his termination in 2015.

Shortly afterward, he was hired as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, where he would be the first NHL bench boss for young phenom forward Connor McDavid. After helping Edmonton reach the Western Conference Semi-Finals in 2017, the Oilers would miss the postseason altogether the following season, resulting in McLellan being dismissed.

Former Edmonton Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft

Speaking of the Oilers, another former head coach who served in that capacity is Jay Woodcroft, who was terminated after an abysmal 3-9-1 start to the 2023-24 season despite Edmonton having entered the fray as bonafide Stanley Cup contenders.

Woodcroft, who was promoted to head coach in 2022 after the firing of Dave Tippett, led the Oilers to the Western Conference Final that included postseason victories over the Kings and the provincial rival Calgary Flames before bowing out to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. That trend would continue last season, as Edmonton defeated Los Angeles in Round 1 only to fall to the eventual champion Vegas Golden Knights.

During his time behind the Oilers bench, Woodcroft racked up a record of  79-41-13, which was the 5th best mark by a head coach during that time period. He began his NHL coaching career as a video coach with the Red Wings, and also followed the aforementioned McLellan to San Jose.